Due to the inhospitable conditions of the refugee camp where she was situated, former IS recruit Shamima Begum has lost her third child Jarrah. Begum was met by a journalist from The Times last month and interviewed about her current situation as a destitute nineteen-year-old with a child to care for. She revealed that she had separated from her husband, a Dutch IS fighter, and had lost two other children during her time in Syria.
However, Begum has revealed that when she was nine months pregnant that she ‘did not regret joining Isis’, but felt that the religious monopoly of power IS commanded in Syria had been brought to an end. She pleaded to have her child raised in the safety of the UK and to be allowed to return to the UK.
This plea was well founded considering that a hundred people were reported to have died from illness in the refugee camp where Begum and her child were housed, the majority of fatalities being children. Begum’s family reached out to Home Secretary Sajid Javid to plead for a reinstatement of her citizenship, which he denied for national security reasons. This decision is now being criticised after Begum’s baby was reported to have been killed by a bout of pneumonia.
Dal Babu, a former Metropolitan Police chief superintendent and friend of Ms Begum’s family, told BBC Newsnight ‘We’ve failed, as a country, to safeguard the child.’ Jarrah had been declared a British citizen before his death, increasing the gravity of the situation as those in favour of Begum’s return argue that the blood of a British child is now on the hands of the Home Secretary. BBC home affairs correspondent Daniel Sandford said it might have been possible for the government to get the baby out of Syria, although that could have been ‘politically difficult.’
One of the reasons for stripping Begum of her citizenship is that she still displays signs of supporting the more extreme parameters of the IS regime. She has not dismissed the beliefs
instilled during her three years spent living under the care of Islamic State fighters and is
therefore considered a threat to National Security. Nikita Malik, a counter terrorism expert, argues that Begum should have been brought to trial and severe punishment in the UK whilst her child was taken into care, as passing her onto another country would be a dangerous cross fertilisation of IS terrorism.
Begum is the responsibility of the UK and should be tried an imprisoned in the UK where she could be monitored. The case of losing a child is a fate that I would wish on nobody, yet this is the latest in a string of consequences for Begum’s decision to journey to Syria. There is an outcry to leave
Begum in Syria to try and claim citizenship in Holland with her husband, the borders of the
UK are indefinitely closed to her.