Teenager Shamima Begum, who is seeking a return to the UK after leaving to join ISIS, has said that the Manchester Arena terrorist attack was “justified”, following a spate of attacks in ISIS territory.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the 2017 terrorist attack, which killed 22 victims, including some young children. They claimed that it was in response to “transgression against the Muslims”.
19-year old Begum, who is pleading to be repatriated from a detention camp in Syria, compared the Manchester bombing to the “women and children in [Isis territory] being killed right now unjustly with the bombings.”
“It’s a two-way thing really because women and children are being killed in the Islamic State right now and it’s kind of retaliation. Their justification was that it’s retaliation so I thought ok that is a fair justification.”
Begum told the BBC she joined the group aged just 15 in 2015 after watching its propaganda: “Not just the beheading videos, the videos they show of families in the park you know, the good life.”
Begum married a Dutch foreign fighter called Yago Riedijk, who is currently in Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) custody, and had two children who died as infants. She gave birth to their third child on Saturday and is pleading to return to the UK.
Kurdish officials have urged the government to fulfil its “legal and moral duty” to repatriate British citizens for trial, but the home secretary has suggested that he will seek to block Begum’s return.
Theresa May rejected a call from Donald Trump for the UK and other European countries to take back their citizens, or risk the SDF letting them go.
Begum’s family lawyer, Tasnime Akunjee, anticipated that she would face criminal proceedings upon any return to the UK, but said it was the family’s hope that she would be given professional help.
In a press release issued on Monday, Mr Akunjee blamed a “litany of failures” by Tower Hamlets Council, Ms Begum’s school and the police for letting her travel to Syria.
Ms Begum was one of three schoolgirls, along with Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, from Bethnal Green Academy who left the UK for Syria in February 2015.
Ms Sultana was reported to have been killed in an air strike in 2016, while the other two are reported to still be alive.