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Woman Says She Regrets Fleeing UK With Young Son To Join ISIS

Dominic Smithers

| Last updated 

Woman Says She Regrets Fleeing UK With Young Son To Join ISIS

A woman has spoken out about why she regrets her decision to join ISIS.

Tareena Shakil, from Burton upon Trent, took her young son with her when she travelled to Syria to join the terrorist organisation in 2016.

After returning to the UK just two years later, she became the first woman to be arrested and convicted of being a member of Islamic State.

At the time, a judge said that she had gone to the war-torn country to help "produce the next generation of fighters".


She was then jailed for six years following a hearing at Birmingham crown court alongside being found guilty of encouraging terrorism on social media.

Credit: Stephen Foote
Credit: Stephen Foote

However, Shakil now says she wishes she had never gone and has since been deradicalised by the East London-based Active Change Foundation.

Speaking in a new ITV documentary, Tareena: Return From ISIS, about her time with the terror group, she said: "It's not something I'm happy about looking back."


"If I could go back I would have come back, I would have gone to Turkey on holiday.

"Being aware of horrific things happening in that place and still deciding to run away, not just on your own, with your child... I understand that is hard for people to understand.

"And to just say you didn't pay that much attention to it, but that's what it was, I just... I didn't.

"It's easy for everybody to say, 'She did this, she did that.'


"But you really have no idea what I was living through."

Credit: Stephen Foote
Credit: Stephen Foote

Following her release, Shakil says her son, who cannot be named, didn't want to know her.

"I would kiss him, he'd wipe the kiss off," she explained.


"We've gone from that to a really good relationship."

And when asked what she thinks of Shamima Begum, who recently lost her British citizenship, Shakil said: "I can't sit here and say, 'No, don't bring them back'.

"Because that makes me a hypocrite because I've been in a very similar situation.

"It's not the same because I escaped. It's not easy to escape. It takes strength, it takes courage, it's life and death."

Featured Image Credit: Stephen Foote

Topics: World News, Documentary, Syria

Dominic Smithers
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