Shamima Begum recalls saying 'no' when mother begged her to come home
‘She tried to make me feel guilty’: Shamima Begum laughs as she recalls saying ‘no’ when her mother begged her to return home – as ISIS bride blames her family for ‘putting her all over the media’
- Begum told podcast about her reaction to family appeals for her to come home
- REPORT: Jihadi bride admits she never considered turning back during journey
Shamima Begum has recalled the moment she spoke to her mother for the first time after fleeing Britain to join ISIS in Syria, with the jihadi bride recalling how she replied ‘no’ when she begged her to come home and ‘tried to make me feel all guilty’.
The 23-year-old even suggested her devastated family were ‘responsible’ for her plight, saying that their tearful appeals for her to come back to the UK ‘put me all over the media’.
Speaking to BBC podcast I’m Not A Monster, Begum was asked by journalist Joshua Baker how she reacted when she heard her despairing sister begging for her to leave the death cult.
‘I couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t believe that my sister would travel all the way to Turkey thinking that she could save me,’ she said.
Shamima Begum has suggested her devastated family were ‘responsible’ for her plight, saying that their tearful appeals for her to come back to the UK ‘put me all over the media’
Renu, Begum’s eldest sister, holding up a photo of her as part of an appeal to bring her home
Referring to herself, Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana – the two friends she fled East London with – she continued: ‘We all said, ”yeah we want to speak to our families, we have an obligation to at least tell them we got here safely”.
‘The first time I called my mum she was just crying. I felt like she was trying to make me feel guilty. I don’t know, maybe it was just emotions but I just didn’t say anything to her I let her cry. I just kept telling her I was ok.’
The journalist asked her ‘did she ask you to come home?’ to which she replied ‘yeah’ before they continued their exchange.
‘What did you say?’
‘Just said no.’
‘So at that point you were committed to the decision you had made?’
‘I was not committed but I just didn’t want to give her false hope because I didn’t think I could leave.
‘I don’t want to blame my family but they are in a way responsible for putting me all over the media.
‘But I don’t think they knew how far it would go and how big it would become. I blame the media for obsessing over my friends and I so much.’
The ISIS bride gave birth to three children after joining ISIS, none of whom have survived. Pictured: Begum with her week-old son Jerah
Begum, pictured here wearing leggings and a white t-shirt, has changed her appearance radically since she was first found in the Al-Roj camp in Syria
Today’s episode also revealed new details about Mohammed Al Rasheed, the ISIS people smuggler who helped Begum reach Syria at the same time as working as an agent for Canadian intelligence.
The ten-part BBC series has attracted controversy for giving airtime to Begum, who is accused of sewing bombers into their suicide vests while living in ISIS-controlled territory in the Middle East.
However, producers insist the series is ‘not a platform for Shamima Begum to give her unchallenged story’ but a ‘robust, public interest investigation’.
It comes as a filmmaker who met the jihadi bride in Syria said she views herself as a ‘celebrity’.
Andrew Drury, who has travelled to Syria to speak to her on several occasions, said she is a ‘narcissist’ who ‘sees herself as a victim’.
Begum, who is currently appealing a decision by the UK Government to strip her of her British citizenship, travelled to Syria to join ISIS when she was 15 years old.
Mr Drury said he had initially been taken in by Begum when meeting her for the first time, adding that he had felt ‘sorry’ for her.
However, he claimed he can see through the character she is playing for the cameras.
The Times quotes him as saying: ‘She sees herself as a victim now but she told me quite clearly it was her choice to go [to Syria] and she went of her own free will
‘She is a narcissist. She wants to be a somebody. Now she sees herself as a celebrity. Being part of Isis meant she was a somebody and now she’s a somebody again.’
In July last year Mr Drury said the UK has a responsibility to bring British jihadi brides like Begum and their children ‘back home’ because it was not fair to leave them ‘to be a danger to the Syrians and the Kurds’ who have ‘enough danger to deal with already’.
But he has since changed his view – in September he said he believed Begum is a ‘manipulative personality playing the victim card in an attempt to get back to the UK’.
He told the Sun at the time: ‘After extensive face-to-face meetings and a slew of bizarre text messages, I am convinced she is a bitter, twisted character with deep psychological problems.’
Mr Drury said that he was ‘floored’ when she told him that the death of her three children no longer makes her sad, and that she had ‘moved on’.
This, he said, began to change his view that Begum is a victim.
Mr Drury, who has written a book about his experiences of travelling abroad for work called Trip Hazard, said she made no mention of being ‘trafficked or groomed’ when he first met her.
He claims she is trying to ‘create a character’ that she can use to get back to the UK.
Whether she is let back into Britain will depend on the decision of a Special Immigration Appeals Commission, which is looking into her claims she was unfairly stripped of her citizenship.
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