Shamima Begum claimed she joined the Islamic State because she did not want to be the “friend left behind” in a documentary about her life in a Syrian refugee camp.
The former Isis child bride, 21, said she fled Britain with her Bethnal Green classmates Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana because she was “young and naive” and wanted to help people in war-torn Syria.
In her first in-depth report since leaving the UK in 2015 at the age of 15, she claimed she and her friends were recruited online by Isis supporters to be “part of something”.
Ms. Begum, of Bethnal Green, east London, said recruiters drove their guilt when they saw Muslims suffering in the Syrian conflict, according to The Telegraph.
Shamima Begum (pictured) claimed she joined the Islamic State because she did not want to be the “friend left behind” in a documentary about her life in a Syrian refugee camp
In the documentary The Return: Life After Isis, Ms. Begum stated, “I knew it was a big decision, but I felt compelled to do it quickly.
“I didn’t want to be the friend who was left behind.”
Ms. Begum is currently being held in al-Roj camp in northern Syria after she was stripped of her British citizenship by the government, which in turn sparked an ongoing legal battle.
About 800 families live in the al-Roj camp, near the border with Turkey and Iran and much more preferred than the infamous al-Hol center, which is 130 kilometers away and houses 15,000 families.
In the 90-minute film, Ms. Begum accused the government of fabricating stories about her commitment to radical Islam when she was stripped of her citizenship, claiming she was too scared to judge Isis for fear for her safety in the camp.
She also revealed the heartache of telling the parents of her friends Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana that the two girls had been killed in the city of Baghuz.
Ms. Begum, from East London, said the Isis recruiters had taken advantage of the guilt Muslims felt over the Syrian conflict. Pictured: Camp Roj in Syria where Ms. Begum is being held
In tears she told her story and said, “Now I feel like I have no more friends, they were all I had.”
It comes after Ms. Begum revealed she wanted to kill herself when her three children died in Syria and asked Britain to give her a “second chance”.
Begum said she hoped the British would be “open-minded about why I left and who I am now as a person” and urged the government to allow her to return home.
In the documentary, she cried when she talked about losing her three children in the Syrian war and said that she wanted to kill herself in the grief.
Begum says that people mistakenly “feel like I am responsible” for the crimes of ISIS, but she now realizes that she was “naive” and rejects his belief.
She said, “You just think I knew about these crimes and supported these crimes, but that’s not true.
“I would never support something like the things they did.”
When Begum was first tracked down after fleeing the UK in 2019, she was pregnant, widowed and had lost two children.
Her third died shortly after giving birth, and in the movie Begum cried when she talked about losing all of her babies.
Begum was 15 when she fled to Syria with two other school girls – Kadiza Sultana (16) and Amira Abase (15) – (all pictured at Gatwick Airport) to marry a Dutch jihadist in 2015
Ms. Begum is currently being held in al-Roj camp in northern Syria (pictured) after the government revoked her British citizenship, sparking an ongoing legal battle
About her daughter’s death, Begum said: “When she died, it was so difficult because I just felt so alone and I had the feeling that my whole world was collapsing in front of me and there was nothing I could do.
“I felt like it was my fault I didn’t get her out sooner.
‘If you [her daughter] died in that moment, I just wanted to kill myself. I felt like I couldn’t even get up after a bomb attack.
“The only thing that kept me alive was my baby, who I was pregnant with. I felt like I had to get it right by getting him out and giving him a normal life. ‘
She is one of several British women stranded in Camp Roj after their citizenship was revoked.
Begum was 15 when she fled to Syria with two other school girls in 2015 to marry a Dutch jihadist.
In February the UK Supreme Court ruled that she could not return to the UK to appeal the withdrawal of her British citizenship.