Sunday, 10 March 2019 14:20

Death Of British "ISIS Bride's" Baby In Refugee Camp Sparks Row In UK

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We previously explored how the issue of so-called British jihadist bride Shamima Begum became politically explosive in the UK after she demanded of British authorities to be repatriated last month, and at a moment that President Trump demanded allies take custody of their foreign fighters from the Syrian battlefield. The now 19-year old joined Islamic State in 2015 after fleeing the UK when she was just 15. She had also recently given birth in a Syrian refugee camp and had demanded safe return to Britain for fear that she and her child could die in the camp, so near the war zone. Britain's response was to formally revoke her UK citizenship on national security grounds. 

As much contentious debate as that move sparked, some are now blaming the UK government after this week Begum's three-week old baby died, reportedly of pneumonia in the wartime conditions of the northern Syria refugee camp in which they were stuck after fleeing the last Islamic State enclave of now besieged Baghouz. In media interviews British ISIS bride Begum has blamed everyone but herself for her dire plight, and while expressing some minor regrets over traveling to Syria still extolled "the good life" under ISIS and noted she had been inspired by ISIS beheading videos. 

Screenshot of "Jihadi Bride" Shamima Begum interview with Sky News last month. 

The opposition Labour party has called the infant's death, the third child of Begum's to have died since she joined the Islamic State "morally reprehensible" while one ruling Conservative party lawmaker called it a “stain on the conscience” of the government.

However, as Reuters reports, the decision to strip the woman of her UK citizenship was popular among Britons according to polls. Reuters reports the Begum has become the face of the raging Europe-wide debate over just what to do with the hundreds of European foreign fighters seeking to exit Syria, which presents a major threat of jihadist terror presence:

Found in a refugee camp in February, an unrepentant Begum sparked a debate in Britain and other European capitals as to whether a teenager with a jihadist fighter’s child should be left in a war zone to fend for herself.

More broadly it has shown the predicament that governments face when weighing the ethical, legal and security ramifications of allowing militants and their families to return.

Most Conservative leaders in Britain, such as Interior Minister Sajid Javid have previously argued "dangerous individuals" coming back to the UK from battlefields in the Middle East should be stripped of their British citizenship

He said this option has already been "so far exercises more than 100 times," otherwise he also advocates prosecution of apprehended returning suspects "regardless of their age and gender." 

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