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​Shamima Begum Asks UK For 'Second Chance' And 'Open Mind' In New Documentary

Jess Hardiman


​Shamima Begum Asks UK For 'Second Chance' And 'Open Mind' In New Documentary

Featured Image Credit: Sky

Former ISIS bride Shamima Begum has asked the UK for a 'second chance', saying she was 'young and naïve' when she left the country for Syria as a teenager.

Begum, who is now 21, called on Brits to keep an 'open mind' when it comes to judging her and to 'put aside' what they've heard about her - claiming both the government and the media have mistold her story.

Speaking in a new feature-length Sky documentary, The Return: Life After ISIS, Begum said: "When I was a teenager, I was so ungrateful, but I was young and naïve and I felt like I knew everything.

Undated handout of Begum. Credit: PA
Undated handout of Begum. Credit: PA

"I felt like I was right and everyone else was wrong. I said I hated my mum and now I realise I love her and I feel most safe with her, and most loved with her.

"I would say to the people of the UK, give me a second chance because I was still young when I left.

"I just want them to put aside everything they've heard about me on the media and just have an open mind about why I left and who I am now as a person."

Begum, right, at Gatwick airport in February 2015. Credit: PA
Begum, right, at Gatwick airport in February 2015. Credit: PA

Begum - who had her British citizenship revoked in 2019 - also said she believes lies have been spread about her to make her 'look bad', including reports she had been in ISIS's morality police, a group who implement a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

She said: "It makes no sense how ISIS would let a 15-year-old with no Islamic knowledge work for hisbah when I don't speak the language.

"I didn't really have any credentials or anything, so I don't know why I'm being accused of this.

Credit: MetFilm/Alba Sotorra Productions
Credit: MetFilm/Alba Sotorra Productions

"I think my government just wants to make me look bad and they couldn't find anything so they just made it up."

Later in the film, she also said the same belief applied to journalists who spoke to her after she fled ISIS, admitting she felt forced into interviews and was also worried about saying 'certain things' in case it made her a target in her camp.

"When these journalists came to meet me, they had the intention of making me look bad, not the intention of getting the true story," Begum said.

The documentary, made by filmmaker Alba Sotorra Clua, features a number of women who fled their countries to devote their lives to ISIS, with unprecedented access to their prison camp Roj in Syria.

Credit: Sky
Credit: Sky

The women share their stories in their own words for the very first time, with a synopsis from Sky reading: "In this unique portrait, we hear from British recruit Shamima Begum, who fled the country with two school friends when she was just 15, and Hoda Muthana from USA who allegedly incited her followers on Twitter to support the Islamic State.

"With no country to go back to, we unpack the realities of more than 60,000 ISIS brides and children who are stranded in Syria as they find support in one another in Syria's detention camps."

LADbible has contacted the UK government for comment.

Watch The Return: Life After ISIS on Sky and NOW from 15 June.

Topics: World News, UK News, TV and Film, News, Shamima Begum, Documentary

Jess Hardiman
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