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Shamima Begum asks UK to forgive her

A British woman who ran away from home aged 15 to join the Islamic State group in Syria has asked for forgiveness and appealed to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to let her come home.

Shamima Begum was one of three east London schoolgirls who traveled to Syria in 2015.

She has said she married an IS member from the Netherlands and had three children, all of whom have died.

Now 22 and living in a refugee camp in Syria, Begum has sought to return home, but the British government revoked her citizenship on national security grounds.

Begum has fought unsuccessfully in the British courts to have her U.K. passport restored.

She said she had changed, regretted her decisions and wanted to help the UK "fight against terrorism", claiming that if IS were to come to the camp where she is and ask if anyone wanted to join them or die, she would rather die.

Addressing Johnson, she said: “I think I could very much help you in your fight against terrorism because you clearly don’t know what you’re doing.”

Begum, who wore a gray tank top and a baseball cap, rather than the black clothes and hijab in which she was once seen, said she had been misled into thinking she was going to Syria to live in an “Islamic community” and didn't commit violence.

Begum said she was willing to face terrorism charges in Britain and would prove her innocence in court.

“If you really think I did do this, why don’t you bring me back and put me on trial, and hear my side of the story,” she said.

“The only crime I committed was being dumb enough to join IS,” she added, saying she had done nothing in IS but be a mother and a wife.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who revoked Begum’s citizenship when he was Britain’s interior minister, said the decision had been both legal and “morally right.”

AP
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