ISIS bride: people should have sympathy for me

Far from home: Shamima Begum is one of 150 women and children to leave Britain for ISIS.

Should Shamima Begum be allowed back to Britain? The teenager was 15 when she left London to join the terrorist group ISIS in Syria. Now, the government says that she cannot return home.

What’s happening

“I know what everyone at home thinks of me,” 19-year-old Shamima Begum told a journalist from The Times in a Syrian refugee camp, “but I just want to come home.”

Begum is originally from East London. However, she left the UK four years ago to join the terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria.

Find out more

ISIS is responsible for killing and injuring thousands of people. It also carried out several terrorist attacks in Europe.

The group has almost been defeated. Two years ago, it controlled vast areas of Syria and Iraq. Now it is locked in a final battle in a couple of villages in the north-east of Syria. Many of its members have fled, including Shamima Begum.

Last weekend she gave birth to a baby boy. She says she thinks people should have “sympathy” for her and her child. “I can’t live in this camp forever.”

However, she also says she has no regrets about joining the violent group. She said she “never did anything dangerous.”

The UK government does not agree. It wants to take away her British citizenship so she cannot return. Is this right?

Some say…

Absolutely. ISIS is a despicable, evil group. Having chosen to renounce Britain for terrorists, she must live with her choice — particularly given her lack of regret. She still seems to agree with the ideas behind ISIS, which means bringing her home could put lots of ordinary Britons at risk. She must face the consequences of her actions.

Others think…

No, she should be allowed to come home. She was brainwashed by ISIS when she was still a child. It will be much safer to bring her home and teach her about why her actions were wrong. She is also a citizen of the UK, which means the UK has a responsibility to look after her, no matter what she has done. Not to do so would be breaking international law.

You Decide

  1. Do you have sympathy for Shamima Begum?

Activities

  1. Write your own argument for why ISIS members from the UK should, or should not, be allowed to come home.

Some People Say...

“Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

Mahatma Gandhi

What do you think?

Word Watch

Refugee camp
A refugee is someone who has fled their home country due to war or persecution. Refugee camps are temporary places for them to live.
Terrorist
Someone who uses violence to scare people for political reasons.
Sympathy
Feelings of pity or sorrow.
Regrets
Wishing you had not done something.
Citizen
A member of a particular country, who has all of the rights which come with that.
Despicable
Extremely bad and deserving of hate.
Renounce
Abandon.

Subjects

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