Citizenship confusion for ISIS bride in Syria

Shamima Begum left London as a 15 year old in 2015 to join ISIS in Syria. She was recently found in a refugee camp in Syria after (reportedly) leaving the last stronghold of ISIS. She wants to return to the UK, but her citizenship may determine where she can go – if her citizenship can be determined.

She claims she has only UK citizenship.

BBC – Shamima Begum case: I have one citizenship, says IS bride

Shamima Begum – the teenager who fled London to join Islamic State – has said she only has “one citizenship” and it was wrong for the UK to revoke it without speaking to her first.

The 19-year-old told BBC News she had hoped the UK would understand she made a “very big mistake” by joining IS.

She gave birth to a son at the weekend and now wants to return home.

It is only possible to strip someone of their UK nationality if they are eligible for citizenship elsewhere.

It is thought Ms Begum has Bangladeshi citizenship through her mother. But the Bangladesh foreign ministry said the matter had nothing to do with the country.

Ms Begum’s mother is believed to be a Bangladeshi national which means under Bangladesh law she would be too.

But Ms Begum told the BBC’s Middle East correspondent Quentin Sommerville: “I wasn’t born in Bangladesh, I’ve never seen Bangladesh and I don’t even speak Bengali properly, so how can they claim I have Bangladeshi citizenship.

“I have one citizenship… and if you take that away from me, I don’t have anything. I don’t think they are allowed to do that.

“I was hoping Britain would understand I made a mistake, a very big mistake, because I was young and naive.”

She said she changed her mind about IS after they imprisoned and tortured her Dutch husband – an armed jihadi.

Escape was impossible, she claimed: “They’d kill you if you tried.”

She added that she understood the anger about her wanting to come home.

“I understand why you don’t want to be sympathetic because of everything IS did… and claiming it’s all for the sake of Islam… it’s really not,” she said.

Her citiizenship is disputed by politicians.

Mr Javid said the power to deprive a person of citizenship was only used “in extreme circumstances”, for example, “when someone turns their back on the fundamental values and supports terror”.

“We must put the safety and security of our country first,” he added.

But shadow home secretary Diane Abbott accused him of breaching the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “no-one shall be arbitrarily deprived of their nationality”.

What is the legal situation on citizenship?

Under the 1981 British Nationality Act, a person can be deprived of their citizenship if the home secretary is satisfied it would be “conducive to the public good” and they would not become stateless as a result.

Ms Begum has the right to challenge the Home Office’s decision either by tribunal or judicial review, said former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation Lord Carlile, but would have to prove the home secretary had acted disproportionately.

He said it was a “complex issue” which “could run for a very long time through the courts”, and Ms Begum could stay where she is “for maybe two years at least”.

Lord Carlile said her baby may be entitled to British, Dutch and Bangladeshi nationality.

Is Shamima Begum entitled to Bangladeshi citizenship?

Under Bangladesh law, a UK national like Ms Begum who is born to a Bangladeshi parent is automatically a Bangladeshi citizen. That means that such a person would have dual nationality.

However, their Bangladeshi nationality and citizenship lapses when they reach the age of 21, unless they make active efforts to retain it.

So, it is Ms Begum’s age, 19, that is likely – in part – to have given Home Office lawyers and the home secretary reassurance there was a legal basis for stripping her of her UK citizenship.

Her Bangladeshi citizenship remains intact until she reaches 21, even if she has never visited the country or made active efforts to retain her citizenship.

Politics again:

Former Conservative Home Secretary Ken Clarke said refusing Britons who joined IS the right to return would be a “great boost for jihadism” as the “hundreds of foreign jihadis stuck in camps in northern Syria” would be further radicalised.

And MP Joanna Cherry, the SNP’s spokeswoman for justice and home affairs, saidthe home secretary’s actions were “more about his leadership ambitions than security issues or due process”.

Mr Javid told MPs earlier this week that more than 100 dual nationals had already lost their UK citizenship after travelling in support of terrorist groups.

In an interview with the BBC on Monday…

…Ms Begum said she never sought to be an IS “poster girl” and now simply wished to raise her child quietly in the UK.

‘Quietly’ may be difficult for her after all this publicity.

She hasn’t helped her case with comments she has made, especially justifying a terrorist attack in Manchester- see Shamima Begum: Manchester Arena bombing ‘justified’ because of Syria airstrikes, Isis teenager says

But where she ends up living looks likely be determined by lawyers.

 

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30 Comments

  1. David

     /  21st February 2019

    I was surprised the dripping wet May led Tory party didnt welcome her back with a council house and a lifetime of benefits.
    Its a good lesson for the next time an Islamic thing starts up and start recruiting, once you leave you aint coming back.

    Reply
  2. Corky

     /  21st February 2019

    ”Former Conservative Home Secretary Ken Clarke said refusing Britons who joined IS the right to return would be a “great boost for jihadism” as the “hundreds of foreign jihadis stuck in camps in northern Syria” would be further radicalised”

    How the West wasn’t won.. but was in fact lost. I would expect this type of sentiment from a dead beat Labour MP…but a Conservative!?

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  21st February 2019

      Hundreds of Jihadis stuck in camps in Northern Syria are going to get steadily hunted out and executed by one winning faction or another over there. Frankly it couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch of people.

      The sad thing is many innocents will be disbelieved when they say they were ISIS hostages, not ISIS supporters, & will be persecuted & killed as well.

      But that’s where fundamentalist Islam took many of its deluded, cold, ruthlessly savage believers, and we should make sure it never gets a good foothold here.

      Muslims should stay in Muslim countries until they outgrow this horrible, repressive, obsessive, religion.

      Also we should keep right out of any wars involving Muslims anywhere. It’s not worth the risk and it ends up effectively committing us to bringing some of them who work with our troops here.

      Muslims and Arabs should sort their own shit out. The West hasn’t made things any better for them by interfering.

      Reply
      • artcroft

         /  21st February 2019

        Preach it Brother.

        Reply
      • Corky

         /  21st February 2019

        Damn straight.

        Reply
      • Mother

         /  22nd February 2019

        Fundamentalist religion of any sort is abusive.

        I wonder Gezza about your preaching, which others seem to enjoy, and I upticked too because I share your sentiment about the gravity of Muslim oppression and because it was refreshing to see a hard comment along the lines of valuing our own values.

        Between communism, Muslim issues and paganism, Aotearoa is potentially in a tight spot. We need to take care, as you suggest.

        I don’t see how somebody who has suggested that I believe in sky fairies could think that it’s possible for Muslims to ‘outgrow’ their religion. This is a notion from the realm of delusion.

        The most feasible and practical way for a substantial number of Muslim individuals to escape from religious tyranny would be if they came and lived with free people who really know freedom and who have a shareable hope, aka Christians.

        If the west’s interference in the Muslim world made things worse, then doesn’t that mean we have our own ‘shit’ which needs sorting out?

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  22nd February 2019

          If you believe in what Christ purportedly preached you have to start with believing in Yahweh – who doesn’t exist – and who Jesus taught (because he was Jewish) is God the Father – who doesn’t exist – and who is also Allah – who the Angel Gabriel told Muhammad the Jews and the Christians misunderstood and misrepresented so Muhammad was to teach the truth about Jaweh/GTF/Allah and what he requires.

          It is not feasible to expect believers in any part of the Abrahamic God myths & histories to abandon their beliefs because they are all based on the same sort of dodgy scripts.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  22nd February 2019

            So therefore, people need to critically examine these faiths, take from them what morals and values are essential for harmonious living in societies – throw away the myths and nonsense (most Christians already ignore the bad things Yahweh did) & adopt civil codes (laws) that punish or frown on theft murder torture coercion etc. Which is what Western Societies have mostly done. Muslim societies have not. And some Christians have not.

            Reply
          • Mother

             /  22nd February 2019

            So now you say it’s not feasible… yet before you enjoyed popularity by saying that the Muslims should outgrow their religion before we can have any involvement with them.

            God the Father is not Allah. The difference is that Allah is too great to die (this is fundamentally what makes Muslims so angry with Christians. They view the notion that Allah would need to die for any reason as blasphemy, and they are hot hard against blasphemy. It really gets them fired up into acts of hatred.)
            Compared with – Jesus Christ (God) died for my sins, in my place so that I might enjoy Life.

            Reply
            • Mother

               /  22nd February 2019

              Yes, I think we can agree that Kiwis would do best to hold onto and further seek to live by the Christian ethos.

            • Mother

               /  22nd February 2019

              The bad things God did? He’s actually doing with us now, what He, as the unchanging God, has always done – allow us to experiment, learn and grow.

            • Gezza

               /  22nd February 2019

              Jesus Christ isn’t God. He’s the son of God. Because this can’t fit with Yaweh a mental contortion is needed to distort the obvious by inventing the theory that God is actually 3 beings. But they are all the same being. This is nonsense.

              What you have just written about Allah reflects a staggering level of complete ignorance of Islam Mother, and it’s probably best you don’t even try to cover that topic.

              It’s absolutely ridiculous to have a belief that Jesus (for whom, unlike Muhammad there is not even any contemporary record of proof he even existed or did the things he is claimed to have done) died to atone for your sins, or anyone’s sins.

              It beggars belief someone intelligent could really believe such a thing.

            • Gezza

               /  22nd February 2019

              He, as the unchanging God, has always done – allow us to experiment, learn and grow.

              Your second point: He doesn’t need to allow us to experiment, learn and grow. We do that just by being born & living, like every other animal and every other ape.

              He is not an unchanging God. Compare the God of the Old Testament and the New. The Old Testament God is jealous, envious, vicious, punitive, a murderer of innocents etc etc. He completely changes in the New Testament, in many ways.

            • Gezza

               /  22nd February 2019

              Yes, I think we can agree that Kiwis would do best to hold onto and further seek to live by the Christian ethos.

              Possibly. But what do you think the Christian ethos is?

            • Mother

               /  22nd February 2019

              Perhaps it comes down to one’s political leanings. The God of the OT you describe sounds very much like lefty nonsense (‘everybody’s responsible but me’) and the ‘changing’ God of the NT sounds like harsh and arrogant rightness.

              God is unchanging and we live in exciting times. I hope Kiwis might successfully find and walk the middle ground.

              Polite discourse on social media would be a good start. The children need that.

            • Gezza

               /  22nd February 2019

              I accept your inability to respond intelligently to my questions above as your surrender.

            • Mother

               /  22nd February 2019

              I think the Christian ethos would be achievable for Kiwis if we had enough Bible scholars (who are learned in Greek and Hebrew and ancient history) along with a continuing number of professing Christians throughout society plus enough nominal Christians who wish to live ‘Christian lives’.

              The Church will prevail no matter what happens. Professing Christians know that. The important thing for individual Kiwis is to get their heads around whether or not they will actively behave as Christians, whether or not they accept the Bible as the word of God. (I’m saying that it is not necessary for people to believe the Bible in order for Kiwis to live the Christian ethos together.)

            • Gezza

               /  22nd February 2019

              You can’t even articulate what the Christian ethos is.

            • phantom snowflake

               /  22nd February 2019

              “Mother”: Your commenting style and language on this thread are noticeably different to previous threads, and I’m quite curious as to whether you will admit what I am suggesting.

            • Mother

               /  22nd February 2019

              That I evangelised?
              I suppose there’s a fine line. I don’t have compartments like political, spiritual etc. It’s all one to me.

              I started out because Gezza said silly things in his Muslim preach. I wanted to respond and it went from there.

              Is that what you mean phantom?

            • phantom snowflake

               /  22nd February 2019

              No; it appears to me that more than one person comments using the “Mother” pseudonym. However, being somewhat less infallible than the pope (deliberately lower case) I may be wrong.

            • Mother

               /  22nd February 2019

              It is me, the same as the guest post mother and all the other threads I’ve been in.

              I presumed that PG would never allow two people to use the same pseudonym?

            • phantom snowflake

               /  22nd February 2019

              Oh dear, perhaps I have been unclear. What I meant was that I had wondered if more than one person in the same household were commenting using the “Mother” pseudonym. A suspicion rather than an accusation.

            • Mother

               /  22nd February 2019

              I didn’t view your query as an accusation. As for suspicions and misunderstandings – there’s lots of those on blogs!

              No one in my household would write for me here. My husband did that once in correspondence to a friend, which was OK with me. Then I wrote for him to his acquaintances just to check we were equals. That was fun.

  3. NOEL

     /  21st February 2019

    Does that mean if she waits it out for two more years,drops a coup!e more kids, she is no longer eligible for dual citizenship and the media will be filled with the problem of her own making again?

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  21st February 2019

      She has been stripped of her UK citizenship as of this week. If she doesn’t take up that of Bangladesh becomes her problem not UK

      Reply
      • Gerrit

         /  21st February 2019

        Bangladesh have said thanks but no thanks. Seems like the rest of her life will be spent in internment camps. Maybe there is an opportunity in Afghanistan?

        Reply
  4. Blazer

     /  21st February 2019

    when is she writing a book…’When you begin…the Begum’.

    Reply
  5. Blazer

     /  21st February 2019

    Reply

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