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​Shamima Begum Says She Was 'Brainwashed' When She Joined ISIS

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​Shamima Begum Says She Was 'Brainwashed' When She Joined ISIS

Shamima Begum, the UK teen who ran away to Syria to join ISIS, has claimed she was 'brainwashed' and has begged for the UK to give her a second chance.

Begum, who was 15 when she travelled from her east London home to Syria in 2015, is married to Dutch terrorist Yago Riedijk, 27. Begum has lost three young children while living in Baghuz and also spoke about the recent death of son Jerrah, who passed away in February.

Shamima Begum ran away from the UK to join ISIS when she was 15. Credit: PA
Shamima Begum ran away from the UK to join ISIS when she was 15. Credit: PA
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Speaking to The Times, the 19-year-old said: "Since I left Baghuz I really regretted everything I did, and I feel like I want to go back to the UK for a second chance to start my life over again.

"I was brainwashed. I came here believing everything that I had been told, while knowing little about the truths of my religion."

She admitted to becoming 'radicalised online' after feeling 'slightly depressed' and 'looking for a purpose'. She went on to say that she was 'easy to manipulate' at the time, because of an ongoing 'disconnect' with her family.

Begum told the newspaper she regretted speaking to journalists, but that she did so out of desperation to return to the UK with her baby.

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She also claimed that interviews she gave to reporters while in the refugee camp were influenced by her worry that ISIS fanatics would try and burn her tent down.

Shamima Begum wants the UK to give her a second chance. Credit: PA
Shamima Begum wants the UK to give her a second chance. Credit: PA

Adding: "The responsibility that I had now, towards him, to get me back to the UK - I was just really desperate, and I just blurted out everything, I tried to answer every question really quickly, I did it out of desperation, maybe not all my answers were clear."

In an interview with the BBC earlier this year, Begum said she hoped the UK would forgive her.

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"I just want forgiveness really, from the UK." she said. "Everything I've been through, I didn't expect I would go through that.

"Losing my children the way I lost them, I don't want to lose this baby as well and this is really not a place to raise children, this camp."

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A lawyer working on behalf of Begum and her family has written to the Home Secretary asking him to allow the teen to return to the UK following the death of her son.

Her husband Riedijk is currently being held at a Kurdish detention centre in Syria and could face six years in prison if he's returned home.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: uk news, Shamima Begum

Claire Reid
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