Shamima Begum: Isis bride 'gives birth to healthy baby' amid debate over her return to UK, family says

Nineteen-year-old has said she wants to come home to the UK to raise her child

Tim Wyatt
Sunday 17 February 2019 11:44 GMT
UK can't make runaway Isis bride Shamima Begum 'stateless' says justice secretary David Gauke

Shamima Begum, the teenager who left Bethnal Green to join Isis, has given birth to a healthy boy, according to a statement from her family’s lawyer.

Ms Begum is currently being held in a camp in Syria after she fled the collapsing caliphate, but has said she wants to come back home to Britain.

Two previous children she had while married to an Isis fighter in Syria have already died.

In a statement, a lawyer for the 19-year-old’s family said: We, the family of Shamima Begum, have been informed that Shamima has given birth to her child, we understand that both she and the baby are in good health.

“As yet we have not had direct contact with Shamima, we are hoping to establish communications with her soon so that we can verify the above.”

The lawyer later said on Twitter the teenager had given birth to a son, tweeting "It's a boy".

A Sky News correspondent who is in the Syria camp confirmed the lawyer's reports, saying he had seen Ms Begum and her baby after she had given birth.

The teenager secretly left her family in east London with two other friends from school in 2015.

After being smuggled into Syria, they reportedly married other Westerners who had joined Isis to fight in Syria.

The 19-year-old was recently tracked down by The Times after she abandoned Isis’s last stand and was captured by Kurdish forces.

She told the newspaper she did not regret her decision to join the Islamist terrorist group, but fled because she feared her baby would die.

“In the end, I just could not endure any more,” she said.

“I was also frightened that the child I am about to give birth to would die like my other children if I stayed on. So I fled the caliphate. Now all I want to do is come home to Britain.”

Amira Abase, Kadiza Sultana and Shamima Begum before catching a flight to Turkey in 2015
Amira Abase, Kadiza Sultana and Shamima Begum before catching a flight to Turkey in 2015 (Met Police/PA)

But her plea has ignited a fierce debate. The home secretary Sajid Javid has insisted he would “block” her return because she had joined a group “full of hate for our country”.

But his cabinet colleague David Gauke, the justice secretary, disagreed, arguing Britain cannot make its citizens “stateless”.

Nonetheless, “there are clearly dangers involved when we have people returning from dangerous parts of the world where they have voluntarily gone to and we need to make sure the British public are protected,” he told Sky News.

Ms Begum's family said on Friday her lack of regret for joining Isis simply reflected how she had been "groomed at the age of 15" by the extremist group

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"Now we are faced with the situation of knowing that Shamima’s young children have died – children we will never come to know as a family," they said in a statement.

This is the hardest of news to bear. The welfare of Shamima’s unborn child is of paramount concern to our family, and we will do everything within our power to protect that baby who is entirely blameless in these events.”

Ms Begum has previously expressed fears her baby would be taken away from her should she manage to get back to Britain.

Her family have suggested they could be given custody of the infant while their daughter is investigated by authorities.

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