In 2015 Shamima Begum left the UK as a 15-year-old teenager on a stolen passport belonging to her sister and made it through passport control at Gatwick airport. She was with two friends Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, the girls caught a flight to Turkey and were then reported to be in Syria. Kadiza Sultana has since been reported dead and there is no current update on Amira Abase. From Turkey they made their way to Syria in hope of a different life, in an interview with Sky Shamima shared:
“The way they showed that you can go [to Syria] and they’ll take care of you.
You can have your own family, do anything. You’re living under Islamic law.”
Her current reality is very different she comments:
“I get fed and I have a heater, but it’s kind of difficult going around doing stuff yourself – especially now I have a child.”
Shortly after the birth of her third child, she shared again her concerns as a mother with Sky News:
“I don’t really want to stay here, I don’t want to take care of my child in this camp because I’m afraid he might even die in this camp,”
The child she speaks about has now passed away due to the conditions and ill health. On the 8th of March 2019 is was confirmed by a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, the medical certificate states the baby passed away due to pneumonia. The father, Yago Riedijk, who remains in prison nearby was also informed of the news. This is the third child she has lost whilst in Syria.
Update on Shamima Begum's baby, Jarrah. The BBC has spoken to a medical source working in the camp who says that the child died at 1330 local time yesterday. pic.twitter.com/Bn0ZPAOd9C
— Dominic Casciani (@BBCDomC) March 8, 2019
Shamima is unable to return to the UK as her citizenship has been revoked based on her allegedly holding dual nationality with access to Bangladesh, however, the family in the UK, deny the dual citizenship and are challenging the UK’s decision. Al Jazeera reports a foreign affairs official confirmed Begum is not Bangladeshi.
International law forbids countries from making people stateless by revoking their only citizenship.
"International law forbids countries from making people stateless by revoking their only citizenship."
Deeply unforgivable action by Theresa May government to let someone die and suffer by revoking their only citizenship.
— Prakash Das (@Prakash_Dassc) March 10, 2019
Shamima Begum’s father has also spoken to the BBC and asked the British public to forgive her.
“She has done wrong, I apologise to everyone as her father, to the British people. I am sorry for Shamima’s doing. I request to the British people, please forgive her. She was underage at that time, she couldn’t understand that much. I suppose someone influenced her to do that, I admit that she might have done wrong without realising it.
He urged the British government and public to
“take her back and punish her if she had done any mistake”.
Kirsty McNeill who works at Save the Children as Head of policy, advocacy and campaigns, commented
“all children associated with IS are victims of the conflict and must be treated as such”. “It is possible the death of this baby boy and others could have been avoided. The UK and other countries of origin must take responsibility for their citizens inside north-east Syria.”
Robina Quereshi Posts online with the Herald “It’s time to let this traumatised teen home”
Last Friday, Shamima Begum’s baby boy Jerrah was buried at the age of 18 days old. He died from pneumonia after enduring…
@Otto_English requests us all to show humanity whilst Chris Kepilo believes at 16 years old if she was criminally responsible.
But you do have to accept that she, and she alone, was wholly responsible for her predicament, and what happened to her clutch of offspring.
At almost 16, she was criminally responsible – and had made long & complex plans to 'escape' the UK & become a breeding machine for IS.
— Chris Kēpilo 🦁TIG / PV (@DinasDevil) March 9, 2019
Politicians like Dianne Abbott have also criticised Sajid Javed “Shamima Begum would have faced British justice, but the baby might have lived.
@sajidjavid has behaved shamefully”
This week a British baby died from pneumonia in a Syrian refugee camp. A tragedy that might have been avoided. If the mother & baby had been brought home, the mother Shamima Begum would have faced British justice, but the baby might have lived. @sajidjavid has behaved shamefully pic.twitter.com/LNU14EBTfE
— Diane Abbott (@HackneyAbbott) March 9, 2019
Some have raised that she was/is a victim of abuse and initially was groomed and have pointed out that if she was a ‘white girl’ we would have approached it as such.
100% agree. People (rightly) were up in arms about white girls being groomed in Rochdale – their reaction to this betrays the racism deep at the heart of the UK. She was groomed for sex, NOT to fight. Even her husband is bemused. He says she 'stayed in the house' with her babies.
— Nonny Nay Tinge 'n' Tint Drama Queen (@NonnyHay) March 8, 2019
Gary Glitter, brought back to UK, despite far worse crimes of raping children (Shamima was only housewife/nurse in Syria). Yet he remains a British citizen!
Rolf Harris, a foreigner who raped British girls, allowed to retain British citizenship AND roam free in UK.
— AK (@ak_uk_83) March 9, 2019
Some have sadly been celebrated the death of the baby
— Mohammed Shafiq (@mshafiquk) March 9, 2019
I cant be quiet: so many of us have frequently told gov (incl this week) that their negative framing of migration, counterterrorism has led to poor decisionmaking & human misery. We are dismissed as troublemakers who dont know what we're talking abt#ShamimaBegum #WindrushScandal
— Omar Khan (@omaromalleykhan) March 9, 2019
It was wrong to take away Shamima Begum’s British citizenship in the first place @sajidjavid must now restore it & she must be able to come home. Shamima Begum is our responsibility whatever she may or may not have done however abhorrent her views.
— Anna Soubry MP (@Anna_Soubry) March 9, 2019
I don't have much time for Shamima Begum's calls to return tp the UK, but what sort of person delights in the death of Begum's baby?
— Brian Moore (@brianmoore666) March 9, 2019
— Sajda Mughal (@SajdaMughal) March 8, 2019
Sajid Javid revoked Shamima Begum’s UK citizenship to pander to the right wing elements of his party.
An innocent baby has died as a result.
— Wolfie. (@Tpopularfront) March 9, 2019
Don’t take away agency! It was Shamima Begum’s decision to join IS. To have children with an IS fighter. To show no remorse. She’s not the victim. Her victims were dumped in mass graves. The baby is the latest victim in a long line of innocents perished because of these monsters.
— Julie Lenarz (@MsJulieLenarz) March 9, 2019
Too simplistic to blame the Home Secretary for the death of Shamima Begum's baby but if feels increasingly inhumane to ban a grieving London teenager groomed aged 15 by IS
— Kevin Maguire (@Kevin_Maguire) March 9, 2019
The fact is: Her child died among many others because of a situation she and her ISIS husband helped create. https://t.co/KfEwf8HFDB
— Imam Mohamad Tawhidi (@Imamofpeace) March 9, 2019
As a friend observed, an alternative headline is: 'Three-Week-Old British Citizen Dies of Pneumonia in Refugee Camp After UK Government Fails to Help'https://t.co/EGpNZPDkXD
— rebecca roache 🇪🇺 (@rebecca_roache) March 8, 2019
Shamima Begum is a formerly groomed teenager and her child was a British citizen in a refugee camp. He was in one of the most vulnerable situations imaginable and his government left him to his fate. Try telling me they would have done the same if he was white
— Jonathan Lis (@jonlis1) March 8, 2019
— Femi (@Femi_Sorry) March 9, 2019