Shamima Begum: emergency debate in Parliament

A legal battle is looming over the British government's decision to revoke the citizenship of Shamima Begum, the London teenager who travelled to Syria to join ISIS but is now seeking permission to return.

It would have been illegal under worldwide law to make the 19-year-old stateless, but British authorities have found a loophole: She is of Bangladeshi heritage and is entitled to dual citizenship because her mother holds a Bangladeshi passport, though the 19-year-old says she has never been to the country, the BBC reports.

Begum was one of three outwardly studious schoolgirls who slipped away from their lives in London's Bethnal Green area in February 2015 to fly to Turkey and then over the border into the cauldron of the Syrian civil war.

Shafee El Sheikh, an alleged British ISIS member, part of a group of fighters dubbed "the Beatles" due to their English accents, had his British citizenship revoked in 2014. I think the only reason she wants to come back is she couldn't stay where she was.

Shamima Begum has reportedly been stripped of her British citizenship.

The British Nationality Act 1981 provides the Home Secretary with the power to take such action if it is "conducive to the public good".

As her son was born before the move to deprive her of her citizenship, the child would be unaffected by the decision, Javid indicated.

She had pleaded to be repatriated back to her family in London and said that she was not a threat.

The order was made by Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Ms Begum's mother was notified by letter, the UK's ITV News reported.


"Family are very disappointed with the Home Office's intention to have an order made depriving Shamima of her citizenship", Begum's lawyer, Mohammed T Akunjee, wrote on Twitter.

Questions have been raised over whether Britain would be able to prevent Ms Begum's eventual return to the UK.

The 19-year-old, who left the United Kingdom to travel to Syria aged 15, branded the move by Home Secretary Sajid Javid as "unjust". "I'm not going to go back and promote people to go to ISIS or anything, if anything I'm going to encourage them not to go because it's not all it seems in their videos".

Though it is unclear whether Begum has committed any crime, her apparent lack of remorse has triggered criticism from many who believe her decision makes her a permanent pariah in Britain.

Last night, the Home Office confirmed Ms Begum will be stripped of her citizenship.

"I don't know what to say", she told ITV News.

Shamima Begum, whose fate has prompted British soul-searching since she and two friends stirred controversy by fleeing to the terror network in 2015, gave birth to a boy, according to family lawyer Mohammed Akunjee.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid had previously told the Times he "will not hesitate" to prevent the return of Britons who "supported terrorist organisations overseas".

The Bangladeshi government does not appear to have responded yet - but it might be possible for Dhaka to quickly cut off this avenue by removing her eligibility for Bangladeshi citizenship, thrusting the problem back at Britain.


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