IS teen's baby dies following stripping of British citizenship

Saul Bowman
March 11, 2019

Ms Begum, who left the United Kingdom in 2015 with two school friends, was found by a journalist from the Times in a Syrian refugee camp in mid-February.

The baby died of pneumonia, according to a medical certificate, the BBC reported on Friday.

"Clearly Shamima Begum holds abhorrent views and to want to join Islamic State is beyond all comprehension, but she was a child, a product of our society", he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Before she gave birth, Begum told British newspaper The Times that she wanted to come home to have her child since she already had two children who died in infancy from malnutrition and illness.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said she hadn't shown remorse for the extremist group's actions.

"If the British Government has stripped her of her nationality then another country should adopt her, any Muslim country", he told reporters at the Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden, south-west London, ahead of an annual peace conference.

Mr Javid stripped Ms Begum of her British citizenship amid a fierce national debate over whether she should be allowed to return.

After giving interviews to the media in which she said she did not regret traveling to Syria and had not been fazed by the sight of severed heads, she asked to be able to return to London to bring up her baby.

The lawyer for the family of Shamima Begum, Mohammed T Akunjee, said: "I can confirm that it is our understanding that Shamima has been moved from Al-Hol due to safety concerns around her and her baby".

CCTV of Shamima Begum leaving at Gatwick Airport in 2015
Camera IconCCTV of Shamima Begum leaving at Gatwick Airport

Kirsty McNeill, a director at Save the Children UK, urged Britain to "take responsibility for their citizens" in Syria.

Begum's family denied she is a dual citizen and said it plans to challenge the UK's decision.

Ms Begum had earlier discussed her fears that she could lose the boy, saying: "This is really not a place to raise children, this camp".

"Any decisions to deprive individuals of their citizenship are based on all available evidence and not taken lightly", a spokesman added. "The Home Secretary failed this British child and he has a lot to answer for".

L-R: Kadiza Sultana, Amira Abase and Shamima Begum in photos issued by police.

It instructed Begum's sister to make her pleas to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office "which is obliged to consider request for consular assistance". "This is callous and inhumane".

BBC home affairs correspondent Daniel Sandford said it might have been possible for the government to get the baby out of Syria, although that could have been "politically difficult". "This is a reminder of why it is so, so unsafe for anyone to be in this war zone".

The case highlights the legal and moral dilemma of what to do with so-called cubs of the caliphate-children of British women who joined up with the terrorists and now want to return.

"My number one job is to do whatever I can to keep this country safe", Javid had said last month while announcing the revocation of citizenship.

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