‘I made a mistake at a very young age’: Shamima Begum begs for forgiveness and claims she ‘didn’t know’ ISIS was a ‘death cult’ as she ditches hijab to make plea on GMB
Shamima Begum today donned western clothing as she begged Britain for forgiveness, denied she is a terrorist and said she had no idea ISIS was a ‘death cult’ when she joined them and became a jihadi bride.
Wearing a Nike baseball cap and a low-cut vest top, the 22-year-old said she is a victim of grooming by extremists, would now ‘rather die’ than rejoin the extremist group and admitted she was wrong to say the Manchester Arena suicide bomb attack was ‘justified’ because of airstrikes that have killed civilians in Syria.
The east London schoolgirl who has dumped her veil and now straightens her dyed hair and wears make-up, fled her home in 2015 to join the so-called Islamic State terror group in Syria with two friends both now believed to be dead.
Begum has had her British citizenship revoked by the Home Office on national security grounds and on the basis she is not stateless because of her Bangladeshi parents, has begged to be brought back to the UK to face a terror trial.
She told ITV’s Good Morning Britain in a live interview: ‘I know it’s very hard for the British people to try and forgive me because they have lived in fear of Isis and lost loved ones because of Isis, but I also have lived in fear of Isis and I also lost loved ones because of Isis, so I can sympathise with them in that way.
‘I know it is very hard for them to forgive me but I say from the bottom of my heart that I am so sorry if I ever offended anyone by coming here, if I ever offended anyone by the things I said.’
But her classmates in London have previously said that Begum wore an ISIS badge on her blazer in an attempt to recruit class members to join the terror group alongside her friends Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana.
Shamima Begum, the east London schoolgirl who fled her home in 2015 to join the so-called Islamic State terror group in Syria, has asked the British people for forgiveness
Shamima Begum no longer wears her niqab, now straightens her hair, paints her nails, with associates saying she now enjoys Zumba, listening to Shakira and watching Good Morning Britain, which she appeared on today
She previously described with chilling nonchalance how she ‘wasn’t fazed’ by the sight of a severed head. Begum also declared how she had a ‘good time’ with Isis, and who justified the bombing of Manchester Arena.
Begum said she came to Syria expecting simply to get married, have children and ‘live a pure, Islamic life’, adding: ‘The reason I came to Syria was not for violent reasons.’
She added: ‘At the time I did not know it (so-called Islamic State) was a death cult, I thought it was an Islamic community I was joining.
‘I was being fed a lot of information on the internet by people.’ She said she thought she was ‘groomed and taken advantage of and manipulated into’ travelling to Syria.
Begum has also never been open about what she did for the group, but it has been claims she worked caring for injured jihadis in the terror group’s former stronghold of Raqqa in northern Syria.
She married Dutch jihadi Yago Riedijk and had three children, all of whom died.
Begum, who frequently swept the hair from her face with hands decorated with pink-coloured nail varnish, denied being directly involved in terrorist preparations.
She told Good Morning Britain: ‘I am willing to go to court and face the people who made these claims and refute these claims, because I know I did nothing in IS but be a mother and a wife.
‘These claims are being made to make me look worse because the Government do not have anything on me.
‘There is no evidence because nothing ever happened.’
She added: ‘I would rather die than go back to IS.’
Begum said she regretted her actions and apologised for the comments she previously made about the Manchester Arena bombing.
She said: ‘I do not believe that one evil justifies another evil. I don’t think that women and children should be killed for other people’s motives and for other people’s agendas.’
Begum said she did not know that women and children were hurt in Manchester.
‘I did not know about the Manchester bombing when I was asked. I did not know that people were killed, I did not know that women and children were hurt because of it.’
Begum said it was ‘not justifiable to kill innocent people in the name of religion’.
She also apologised to anyone who has been affected by Isis and the terror group’s actions.
She said: ‘I’m in a different camp, obviously. I have friends now. I have a security shield now around me with my friends and I feel more confident in myself.
‘I obviously don’t have my son anymore so I only have to think about my safety so if I do get attacked for taking my hijab off, it’s on me.
‘While I’m in this camp, I’m trying to change myself. I’m trying to better myself, because I can.’
In an apology to the public, she said: ‘Of course I am completely sorry for anyone that has been affected by Isis.
‘In no way do I agree with what they did, I don’t, I’m not trying to justify what they did, it’s not justifiable to kill innocent people in the name of religion.’
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