Sunday, 3 Dec 2023

Shamima Begum’s heartbroken mum is planning ‘party’ for daughter’s return to UK

ISIS bride Shamima Begum's heartbroken mother is planning a birthday party for if and when her daughter returns to the UK for the first time since she left for Syria in 2015.

Ms Begum was 15 when she travelled from Bethnal Green, east London, through Turkey and into ISIS-controlled territory in Syria.

Her British citizenship was revoked on national security grounds shortly after she was found, nine months pregnant, in a Syrian refugee camp in February 2019. She had three children that all sadly died.

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Ms Begum, now 23, is challenging the Home Office over the decision to remove her British citizenship.

On the third day of the appeal on Wednesday, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) was told Ms Begum’s mother said she will have a party when or if her daughter returns.

Begum's mum said: "My youngest daughter is even more present in my mind, the one I think about almost every hour of every day. When she left home in 2015, our worlds fell apart."

Mrs Begum's statement also said: "On the last birthday she spent with us before she left, she did not want a cake but wanted a pizza with candles on it instead.

"She was so happy that day. On each of her birthdays since she left we order pizza and still celebrate her birthdays.

"It was always sad but we look forward to the birthday party we will have when she is back."

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Ms Begum’s barrister Dan Squires KC said the statement was “a powerful indication of the impact and the connection that remains between the appellant (Ms Begum) and her family here”.

She told the court: "Shamima and I shared a bedroom and I have not moved anything of hers from our room.

"Her drawers are still full, her perfume, pens and jewellery, her clothes are still there. Her pyjamas are folded neatly.

"The box with her school books I look at sometimes. Her school blazer is still hanging on the door in the front room, just as it was when she left."

The barrister said the decision to deprive Ms Begum of her citizenship “extinguished her family’s ability to rebuild their family life with their daughter and sibling with whom they lost contact as a result of the acts of criminals in targeting a young child, and trafficking her out of the country”.

The hearing is set to conclude tomorrow (Friday, November 25) with a decision to be released at a later date.

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