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EXCLUSIVE: 'What would you say to the British people to change their mind?' - @richardm56
Shamima Begum says she 'regrets every decision she's made since she stepped into Syria' and she will 'take the feeling of regret to her grave'. pic.twitter.com/53mbhbpbbH
- Good Morning Britain (@GMB) September 15, 2021
The now 21-year-old, who left the UK to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Syria at the age of 15, spoke with hosts Richard Madeley and Susanna Reid on ITV's flagship morning show today.
During the interview, Begum was asked by Reid why the British public should forgive her, and told the hosts: "Because I made a mistake at a very young age, most young people don't know what they want to do with their lives.
"I know it's very hard for the British people to try and forgive me."
Reid later described ISIS as a 'death cult', to which Begum responded that - when she left the UK - she had no idea how bad they actually were.
She said: "I thought it was an Islamic community,
"I think - yes - I was groomed and taken advantage of.
"I did not know that there was war...
"Well, I did know there was a war, but not where women and children were living. I did not know that ISIS were trying to take over the world.
"The reason I came to Syria was not for any violent reasons, I did not want to hurt anyone in Syria or anywhere else in the world."
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."
Begum, who had her UK citizenship revoked by the Home Office over concerns regarding national security in 2019, apologised for her actions and asked the public for forgiveness on several occasions.
She said: "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."
She then added: "If ISIS were to come back now and say, 'who wants to join us?' and 'whoever doesn't join us we'll kill them', I'd rather die."
And in regards to her new appearance, Begum admitted she hasn't worn her hijab for over a year and she 'took it off for herself'.
"I felt very constricted in the hijab, I felt I was not myself and I feel it makes me happier to not wear a hijab... I'm not doing it for anyone but myself."
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