Shamima Begum GMB interview: What did she say and how have people reacted to former ISIS bride’s pleas?

By Elaine McCallig

Former ISIS bride Shamima Begum appeared on Good Morning Britain today to beg for forgiveness from the British public and said she would “rather die than go back to ISIS”.

The 22-year-old, who had her British citizenship revoked by the Home Office over security concerns, appeared for her first-ever live broadcast interview from the camp in Syria where she is being detained.

Begum fled her east London home for Syria as a 15-year-old schoolgirl along with her friends Amira Abase, 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16.

Here are the key points from her interview with Susanna Reid and Richard Madeley:

Begum wants to ‘prove her innocence’

Begum told GMB there was “no evidence” that she was a key player in preparing terrorist acts.

She said wanted to be brought back to the UK and face terror charges in order to prove her innocence.

“I am willing to go to court and face the people who made these claims and refute these claims, because I know I did nothing in IS (so-called Islamic State) but be a mother and a wife,” she said.

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“These claims are being made to make me look worse because the Government do not have anything on me.

“There is no evidence because nothing ever happened.”

She says she regrets her comments on the Manchester Arena bombing

Begum had previously compared the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing – in which 22 men, women and children died after homegrown jihadi Salman Abedi detonated a suicide bomb – to military strikes on IS strongholds, calling the terror attack “retaliation”.

Begum apologised for these comments today and told hosts Reid and Madeley: “I am completely sorry for anyone who has been affected by ISIS, I in no way agree with what they did. I’m not trying to justify what they did, it’s not justifiable to kill innocent people in the name of religion.”

She added: “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, stating: “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.”

She pleaded for the British public’s forgiveness and asked for a ‘second chance’

Begum said: “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.

“I know there are some people no matter what I say or what I do, they will not believe that I have changed, believe that I want to help.

“But for those who have even a drop of mercy and compassion and empathy in their hearts, I tell you from the bottom of my heart that I regret every, every decision I’ve made since I stepped into Syria and I will live with it for the rest of my life.”

She added: “No one can hate me more than I hate myself for what I’ve done and all I can say is I’m sorry and just give me a second chance.”

Begum said Boris Johnson doesn’t know what he’s doing in the fight against terror

In a direct plea to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Begum said: “I think I could very much help you in your fight against terrorism because you clearly don’t know what you’re doing.”

She added: “I want them [the British public] to see me as an asset rather than a threat to them.”

She thinks Sajid Javid would now change his mind on revoking her citizenship

When asked what she would tell Sajid Javid, who was Home Secretary when Begum’s British citizenship was revoked, Begum said: “I understand why he took my citizenship away, that it’s his job to think about the interest of the UK before anything else.

“What he saw on the media was not the true me. If he were to meet me himself, I’m pretty sure he would change his mind about my citizenship.”

Begum said she was groomed and taken advantage of, believing she would be entering an “Islamic paradise”.

She said: “People that I was speaking to online they just, they created this image for me over paradise, an Islamic paradise.

“They pressured me very hard into coming. They made me feel bad for wanting to stay in the UK, for wanting to stay with my family who weren’t even practising at the time. And they took advantage of me because they knew that I was young.”

How have people reacted?

Sajid Javid, who was Home Secretary when Begum’s British citizenship was revoked, told ITV: “I’m clear that it was absolutely the right decision to protect the British people.”

He also hit back at Begum’s claims that she played no part in Islamic State terrorism.

Referring to his decision while home secretary to strip Begum of her British citizenship, the Health Secretary said: “I won’t go into details of the case, but what I will say is that you certainly haven’t seen what I saw.”

He added: “If you did know what I knew, because you are sensible, responsible people, you would have made exactly the same decision – of that I have no doubt.”

Viewers took to Twitter to voice their opinions on Begum’s fate.

Some believe she was should be brought back to the UK to face the consequences of joining the terror organisation:

Others said she should “never be allowed back” to the UK:

Others said they are “on the fence”:

Additional reporting by PA.


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