Britain

Shamima Begum was ‘groomed’ and UK ‘failed to protect her’

Islamic State bride Shamima Begum was "groomed and radicalised" due to a failure by UK authorities to protect her from the influence of extremists, the lawyer representing her family has said.

The 19-year-old was a schoolgirl when she left her home in Bethnal Green, London, to join the terror cult in 2015, and made headlines when she resurfaced in a Syrian refugee camp earlier this year.

Her bid to return to the UK following the birth of a baby boy in February failed to move Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who controversially stripped her of British citizenship.

Image: Shamima Begum has been in a Syrian refugee camp

Mr Javid has now been accused of "human fly-tipping" by the lawyer representing the Begum family, who used a letter published in The Times to claim the Tory leadership hopeful used the case to further his career.

Mohammed Akunjee said the decision – made under international law that allows for citizenship to be taken away so long as it does not leave the individual stateless – should be reversed and an apology offered.

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He described the move as "the most profoundly egregious, capricious and politically driven abuse of power", adding that the teenager had been used as "a pawn to your vanity".

Ms Begum was heavily pregnant when she gave interviews to media outlets from the Al-Roj camp in the north of Syria, keen to return to the UK amid the collapse of IS.

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She claimed she had been "brainwashed" and was ready to leave the caliphate, insisting that she was "just a housewife" during her time there.

Mr Javid stripped her of her British citizenship as it was thought she may have a claim in Bangladesh because of her family background, meaning the move would not be deemed illegal.

Human rights lawyer and Ahmadiyya spokesperson Khalil Yousuf
Ahmadiyya spokesperson: 'Shamima's baby deserved compassion from UK'

But officials in the south Asian country have denied that is the case and Ms Begum – whose baby died on 8 March, less than three weeks after he was born – has remained in Syria.

Mr Akunjee continued: "Shamima Begum's parents never contemplated a life for her in Bangladesh. They did not register her birth with the Bangladeshi High Commission.

"They did not take her to Bangladesh on holiday as a child. Indeed she has never visited the country. Rather, Shamima was born, raised, groomed and radicalised here in the UK.

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