Shamima Begum: IS teenager says losing UK citizenship ‘unjust’


International desk, Feb 20: Shamima Begum – the teenager who fled London to join Islamic State in Syria – has said being stripped of her British citizenship is “unjust”.Ms Begum, 19, told ITV News that she found the Home Office’s decision “heartbreaking”, but she may try for citizenship via her Dutch husband, BBC reported.

It is only possible to revoke someone’s UK nationality if they are eligible for citizenship elsewhere.

The home secretary suggested Ms Begum’s newborn son could still be British.

While he said he would not comment on individual cases, Sajid Javid told the Commons: “Children should not suffer. So, if a parent does lose their British citizenship, it does not affect the rights of their child.”

Ms Begum’s mother is believed to be a Bangladeshi national which means under Bangladesh law she would be too.

Ms Begum was a schoolgirl when she left Bethnal Green in 2015. She was found in a Syrian refugee camp last week after reportedly leaving Baghuz – IS’s last stronghold.

She gave birth to a son at the weekend and now wants to return home.

Mr Javid said the power to deprive someone of citizenship was only used “in extreme circumstances”, for example, “when someone turns their back on the fundamental values and supports terror”.

“We must put the safety and security of our country first,” he added.

But shadow home secretary Diane Abbott accused him of breaching the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “no-one shall be arbitrarily deprived of their nationality”.


ITV News showed Ms Begum a copy of the Home Office’s letter – which had been sent to her mother. Ms Begum said: “I am a bit shocked. It’s a bit upsetting and frustrating. I feel like it’s a bit unjust on me and my son.”

Ms Begum was 15 and living in Bethnal Green, London, when she left the UK in 2015

She added: “Another option I might try with my family is my husband is from Holland and he has family in Holland.

“Maybe I can ask for citizenship in Holland. If he gets sent back to prison in Holland I can just wait for him while he is in prison.”

Ms Begum’s husband is a Dutch convert to Islam and is thought to have surrendered to a group of Syrian fighters about two weeks ago.

The lawyer for Ms Begum’s family, Tasnime Akunjee, said they were considering “all legal avenues” to contest the Home Office decision.

He told the Independent that the Bangladesh government “does not know who she is”, adding: “Our position is that to all practical purposes she has been made stateless.”

Ms Begum previously told the BBC she did not have a Bangladeshi passport and had never been to the country.