Sky News has spoken to IS bride Shamima Begum in an exclusive interview just hours after she gave birth to a baby boy in a Syrian refugee camp.
The 19-year-old was one of three schoolgirls from Bethnal Green in east London who travelled to Syria to join the Islamic State in 2015.
Sky correspondent John Sparks interviewed the teenager from the refugee camp.
Here is the full exchange:
Tell me a bit about the child.
It’s a boy. I named him after my old son [who died] – that’s what my husband wanted.
What are conditions like in the camp?
Right now it’s okay. I get fed and I have a heater, but it’s kind of difficult going around doing stuff yourself – especially now I have a child.
Will you be able to care for him here?
It’s going to be a bit difficult because right now I don’t have money.
For people without money, it’s hard to get around with the amount of things they give us.
Is life in the camp better than it was in Baghuz over the last few months?
Definitely. I mean, I’m not starving, I have a roof over my head, whereas before I was sleeping outside.
There was no medical care so everyone was getting sick. My kids died because of sickness. So yeah.
You have obviously been through a lot over the last few years. Can you describe what it has been like to live with and under the Islamic State?
At first it was nice, it was like how they showed it in the videos, like ‘come, make a family together’.
Then afterwards, things got harder, you know. When we lost Raqqa we had to keep moving and moving and moving. The situation got difficult.
Was there a point when you started to have second thoughts about your life under Islamic State?
Only at the end, after my son died. I realised I had to get out for the sake of my children – for the sake of my daughter and my baby. Yeah.
Only at the end?
You didn’t have any regrets up until that point?
What was it about Islamic State that attracted you? What did you like about it?
The way they showed that you can go [to Syria] and they’ll take care of you.
You can have your own family, do anything. You’re living under Islamic law.
Did you know what Islamic State were doing when you left for Syria? Because they had beheaded people. There were executions.
Yeah, I knew about those things and I was okay with it. Because, you know, I started becoming religious just before I left.
From what I heard, Islamically that is all allowed. So I was okay with it.
You didn’t question that?
No, not at all.
There’s a struggle going on in the UK now about whether you should be allowed to come home or not.
Yeah, I know.
What are your feelings about that?
I think a lot of people should have, like, sympathy towards me for everything I’ve been through.
I didn’t know what I was getting into when I left and I just was hoping that for the sake of me and my child, they could let me come back.
Because I can’t live in this camp forever. It’s not really possible.
The head of the intelligence services in the UK says people like you are potentially very dangerous. What would you say to him?
They don’t have any evidence against me doing anything dangerous.
When I went to Syria, I was just a housewife for the entire four years – stayed at home, took care of my husband, took care of my kids.
I never did anything dangerous. I never made propaganda. I never encouraged people to come to Syria.
They don’t really have proof that I did anything that is dangerous.
Your family have made an appeal for you to come home. They are pleading with the British government for you to come home. Do you have a message for your family?
You know, just keep trying to get me back. I really don’t want to stay here.
I don’t want to take care of my child in this camp, because I’m afraid he might even die in this camp.
What do you think life would be like back in the UK?
I don’t know. Because I know they would be a lot of restrictions on me, I wouldn’t be free to do things that I used to be able to do.
I don’t know if they’ll take my child away and all these things. That’s one of my biggest priorities.
I left because of him, so I don’t want him to be taken away from me and I’m just trying to give him a better life.
If the authorities took the child away from you, would you accept that?
It would be hard to accept. I would try my best to keep him with me.
I don’t see any reason why they would take him away from me.
There are concerns because of what you have been through, views that people think you may have or still have in regard to Islamic State.
That’s something they have to question me about before they take my child away, I guess.
One question that people are asking is whether you can be rehabilitated.
It would be really hard because of everything I’ve been through now.
I’m still kind of in the mentality of having planes over my head and an emergency backpack and starving, all these things.
I think it would be a big shock to go back to the UK and start life again.
May I ask, what was it that attracted you? Was it from watchhing videos, was there somebody who recruited you? What was it that prompted a 15-year-old girl to go to Syria?
During the time I left, al-Dawla (Islamic State) was on the news and stuff, and like a lot of videos were coming out and I saw all the videos on the internet and that just kind of attracted me to them.
Like it attracted a lot of people.
Do you know whether your friend Amira Abase [who she travelled to Syria with in 2015] is still alive?
I don’t know. I haven’t heard from her in a long time.
How did you feel when your other friend, Kadiza Sultana, died?
It was a big shock because it was at the beginning of when we left. It was maybe a year after we left. It wasn’t something I suspected.
Like, now if I heard that Amira was dead, I wouldn’t be surprised.
I would be hurt obviously, but I wouldn’t be surprised because of the situation she’s still in.
When Kadiza died the situation was still good in Raqqa, it just came out of nowhere.
Do you feel that you have made a mistake? When you look back at what you’ve been through over the last four years, do you feel like you’ve made a mistake?
A mistake in going to al-Dawla?
Yes, a mistake in coming here, living under Islamic State.
In a way, yes, but I don’t regret it because it’s changed me as a person.
It’s made me stronger, tougher. I married my husband. I wouldn’t have found someone like him back in the UK.
I had my kids. I did have a good time there, it’s just that at the end things got harder and I couldn’t take it anymore.
I had to leave.
Have you had any contact with your husband, does he know that you have had a child?
No, I don’t know how to get in contact. I don’t know if they’d let me get in contact with him and I don’t know where he is right now.
I would like to get in contact with him.
Have consular officials from the British government been in touch with you?
No, just another journalist, that’s it.
Are you able to see the news coverage centring on you?
No, I don’t have my phone, I can’t go on the internet, I don’t know what’s going on around me right now.
Just getting in contact with my family was difficult. I just got lucky, I guess.
You have had some contact with them have you?
Yeah the last journalist that came he contacted my family for me.
Do you have a message for them?
Just please don’t give up on me. Try to get me back I really don’t want to stay here.
It must have been a terrible shock for your family when you left.
They were [shocked]. Because at first obviously they did try and ask me to come back, but I kept saying no.
Then they gave up, and now I’m kind of, after four years I’m asking them for help now.
It’s kind of, a big slap in the face to them.
But I really need the help.
What would you say to them?
I’m sorry for leaving.
Do you feel that there is the possibility of a good future for you and your son?
Yes, if the UK are willing to take me back and help me start a new life again.
I’m just trying to move on from everything that’s happened over the last four years.
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