Former US ambassador says Shamima Begum poses no danger to UK

Schoolgirl who fled Britain to join ISIS pleads to be allowed to return home

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 22, 2015 Renu Begum, eldest sister of missing British girl Shamima Begum, holds a picture of her sister while being interviewed by the media in central London. A teenager who joined the Islamic State group in Syria but now wants to return to Britain gave birth on February 17, 2019, drawing fresh scrutiny as Europe struggles with Western jihadist supporters eager to return home. / AFP / POOL / POOL / LAURA LEAN

Shamima Begum, the woman who left the UK when she was 15 to join ISIS, does not pose a danger to the British public, according to a retired US ambassador.

Peter Galbraith, a former US ambassador to Croatia who recently helped to free a Canadian woman from the same Syrian detention camp, said Ms Begum should be allowed to return home.

The retired diplomat said he was “quite confident” Ms Begum was no longer a dangerous person.

“I’ve talked to Shamima – she is part of the group of women who have absolutely rejected [ISIS] – I know enough about her to feel quite confident that she’s not a dangerous person," Mr Galbraith told The Telegraph.

Ms Begum was blocked from returning to the UK in 2019 because of what the UK government said was the threat to national security and the risk of terrorism.

The former London schoolgirl, now 21, lost a series of appeals in February in the Supreme Court to have her British citizenship restored.

Ms Begum travelled with two schoolgirls from Bethnal Green Academy in east London, to Raqqa, Syria, in February, 2015.

She married Dutch ISIS fighter Yago Riedijk shortly after arriving in ISIS territory and the couple had three children, all of whom died in infancy.

Ms Begum told the Daily Mail last week she was a “dumb kid” when she fled the UK.

“I don’t think I was a terrorist. I think I was just a dumb kid who made one mistake,” she said.

“I personally don’t think that I need to be rehabilitated, but I would want to help other people be rehabilitated. I would love to help.”

Updated: June 30th 2021, 10:24 AM
EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS