Shamima Begum asks British people for forgiveness in live TV interview

By Neil Shaw

Shamima Begum, the east London schoolgirl who fled her home in 2015 to join the so-called Islamic State terror group in Syria, has asked the British people for forgiveness.

The 22-year-old, who has had her British citizenship revoked by the Home Office on national security grounds, told ITV’s Good Morning Britain in a live interview: “I know it’s very hard for the British people to try and forgive me because they have lived in fear of Isis and lost loved ones because of Isis, but I also have lived in fear of Isis and I also lost loved ones because of Isis, so I can sympathise with them in that way.

“I know it is very hard for them to forgive me but I say from the bottom of my heart that I am so sorry if I ever offended anyone by coming here, if I ever offended anyone by the things I said.”

Speaking from Syria and wearing a Nike baseball cap and grey vest, Begum said she came to Syria expecting simply to get married, have children and “live a pure, Islamic life”.

“The reason I came to Syria was not for violent reasons.”

She added: “At the time I did not know it (so-called Islamic State) was a death cult, I thought it was an Islamic community I was joining.

“I was being fed a lot of information on the internet by people.”

She said she thought she was “groomed and taken advantage of and manipulated into” travelling to Syria.

Begum said she regretted her actions and apologised for the comments she previously made about the Manchester Arena bombing.

She said: “I do not believe that one evil justifies another evil. I don’t think that women and children should be killed for other people’s motives and for other people’s agendas.”

Begum said she did not know that women and children were hurt in Manchester.

“I did not know about the Manchester bombing when I was asked. I did not know that people were killed, I did not know that women and children were hurt because of it.”

Begum said it was “not justifiable to kill innocent people in the name of religion”.

She also apologised to anyone who has been affected by Isis and the terror group’s actions.

She said: “I’m in a different camp, obviously. I have friends now. I have a security shield now around me with my friends and I feel more confident in myself.

“I obviously don’t have my son anymore so I only have to think about my safety so if I do get attacked for taking my hijab off, it’s on me.

“While I’m in this camp, I’m trying to change myself. I’m trying to better myself, because I can.”

In an apology to the public, she said: “Of course I am completely sorry for anyone that has been affected by Isis.

“In no way do I agree with what they did, I don’t, I’m not trying to justify what they did, it’s not justifiable to kill innocent people in the name of religion.”

For more stories from where you live, visit InYourArea.


What is inkl?

Important stories

See news based on value, not advertising potential. Get the latest news from around the world.

Trusted newsrooms

We bring you reliable news from the world’s most experienced journalists in the most trusted newsrooms.

Ad-free reading

Read without interruptions, distractions or intrusions of privacy.