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British schoolgirl who joined ISIS in Syria, says she didn't want to be 'poster girl' for group

The then 15-year-old school girl who fled London to join to ISIS in Syria now says "the poster girl thing was not my choice".

Shamima Begum was interviewed by the BBC about why she joined the militant group and says one of the reasons she joined was because of the "good life" portrayed in the group's propaganda videos.

"Not just the beheading videos, the videos they show of families and stuff in the park, the good life they can provide for you. Not just the fighting videos, but yeah the fighting videos as well, I guess."

The 19-year-old who has just given birth left Bethnal Green in London four years ago to join ISIS with two of her school friends.

She gave birth to a baby boy last weekend, after she lost two previous children in Syria and named him after her first son.

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Shamima Begum left for Syria in 2014 and says she was nothing more than a housewife. Source: 1 NEWS

BBC's Middle East correspondent Quentin Sommerville in the interview says to Ms Begum about joining, "you helped the enemy of Britain."

Begum responds, "I wasn’t the one that put myself on the news." She added, "The poster girl thing was not my choice".

Sommerville gave her an opportunity to apologise to some of the people who were murdered by ISIS and asked her if she had heard about the Manchester Arena attack.

Twenty-three people including the attacker died in the suicide bombing at the arena in Mancheter on May 22, 2017.

"I do feel it is wrong that innocent people did get killed. It’s one thing to kill a soldier that is firing at you, it’s self-defence, but to kill people like women and children, just like the women and children in Baghuz (Syria) that are being killed right now unjustly by the bombings. It's a two-way thing really.

"It’s kind of retaliation. Their justification it that it was retaliation. So I thought I was a fair justification."

Ms Begum said she was sorry for all the families who had lost people because of terror attacks in the UK and other countries.

"That wasn't fair on them," she said. "They weren't fighting anyone. They weren't causing any harm. But neither was I and neither were other women who are being killed right now back in Baghuz."

She tells Sommerville that she "doesn’t actually agree with everything they’ve (ISIS) done" and now wants the UK’s forgiveness.

"I actually do support some British values and I am willing to go back to the UK and settle back again and rehabilitate and that stuff,” she says.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid told British MPs that he "would not hesitate to prevent" the return of Britons who travelled to Syria to join ISIS.

Under international law the UK cannot actually leave people stateless but he says she could be "questioned, investigated and potentially prosecuted".


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