LONDON: Shamima Begum, the 21-year-old Londoner who fled the UK at the age of 15 to join Daesh, said she went to Syria because she wanted to feel “part of something. thing”.
A new documentary “The Return: Life After ISIS” interviewed her and several other women currently detained at Al-Roj camp in northern Syria.
Begum, who left the UK in 2015 with two other London daughters – Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana – said she had been her family’s ‘black sheep’ and had traveled to the Middle East because she didn’t want to be the “friend left behind.
She added that she was recruited online by Daesh supporters, who made fun of her and her friends’ guilt over what was happening to other Muslims in Syria.
“It was vacation when I decided to go with my friends. I knew it was a big decision, but I just felt I had to do it quickly. I didn’t want to be the friend who was left behind, ”Begum told the documentary.
“My mother didn’t see me walk through the door. I did not give her a hug. I really regret not having hugged her.
In the film, Begum describes how she must have informed Abase and Sultana’s parents that they had been killed in the town of Baghuz, saying, “I feel like I don’t have any friends anymore. They were all I had.
She also recounted how she lost two children fleeing what was left of the Daesh “caliphate”.
Begum said their death touched her so much that she wanted to kill herself. “I felt I couldn’t stand up anymore,” she added.
“I couldn’t even get up to run when there was bombing. The only thing that kept me alive was my baby that I was pregnant with. Her third child died a few days after her birth in Al-Roj.
In 2019, the British government deprived Begum of his British citizenship, preventing him from returning, which led to a long legal battle.
She told the documentary that media stories about her were fabricated to justify the decision and that she wanted a second chance.
“I would say to people in the UK, give me a second chance because I was still young when I left,” she said.
“I just want them to put aside everything they’ve heard about me in the media and have an open mind about why I left and who I am now as a person.”