Tooba Gondal: Isis bride begs to come home to UK in public apology

‘Give me another chance,’ pleads former student from east London

Peter Stubley
Sunday 29 September 2019 13:53 BST
Isis flag raised at Syrian camp holding jihadist families

A “jihadi bride” accused of recruiting teenage girls to Isis, issued a public apology as she begged to return to the UK to face justice in court.

Tooba Gondal, whose three husbands were all killed while fighting for the terror group, has spent nearly a year in detention at a camp in northern Syria with hundreds of other foreign women and children.

In an open letter to the British public, the former student from Walthamstow in east London pleaded for government to take her and her two young children back.

“It is not just for my government to keep us here for nearly a year now,” she wrote. “I want to face justice in a British court. I wish to redeem myself. I would like Britain to accept my apology and give me another chance.”

Despite evidence suggesting she celebrated terror attacks online and urged “sisters” to join Isis, Ms Gondal described the group as “criminals” and claimed: “I am not a terrorist”.

“I have never harmed you, nor do I intend to,” the 25-year-old added in the letter published in The Sunday Times. “I was a vulnerable target to Isis recruiters. I was manipulated and persuaded that it was an obligation as a Muslim to travel to Syria.

“I never became a member of Isis. I was forced at many stages to marry and I can’t say how many times I tried to escape.I wanted to leave from the start, but it became impossible.

“These criminals threatened to kill my babies.”

She said her son Ibrahim, who turns three next month, and 18-month-old daughter Asiya had been injured during the war and at times suffered starvation.

“Although I must be held to account for travelling to Syria, my children are completely innocent,” she wrote. ”They have done nothing wrong.”

The former Goldsmiths University student said she was born in France and has a French passport, but was granted “permanent British residency” after living in London at the age of three.

She was banned from re-entering the UK in November by a Home Office exclusion order, but her son is entitled to UK citizenship because his father – who blew himself up in a suicide bombing in Iraq – was British.

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“I desperately wish for the British government to take us back,” she said. “I want to prove that I am a changed person, a much better individual society.”

Ms Gondal even offered to help prevent the radicalisation of Muslims in the UK as part of her rehabilitation.

However on Sunday Home Secretary Priti Patel insisted Isis supporters such as Shamima Begum will never be allowed to return to the UK.

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