“The only crime I committed was to come to Syria. I would like to be at home. There is more safety in a British prison, more education and access to family. Here, there are so many uncertainties about what will happen. It is still a warzone. I want to be taken back and put on trial in my own country. In a way it is already a punishment being in this camp”, Begum explained.
She complained about her mental state and the difficulties in the internment centre where she is staying. The young woman, who has been off the radar for the past several months, has lost her three children and UK citizenship, thereby blocking her from returning to her home country.
According to Begum, life in the Syrian camp is psychologically challenging for her, as she has lost “all the friends” who came with her and none of the people with whom she is living, understand what she has been through.
“My mental health situation is not the best. My physical health is OK. I am still young and I do not get sick. That is not my problem. Mentally, though, I am in a really bad way. I need therapy to deal with my grief. It is so hard. I have lost all my children”, she said, noting that there is no mental health provision in her centre, while other camps are said to offer psychiatric help.
In her fresh interview, Shamima, who was groomed online, ran off to Syria at the age of 15 and married Islamist of Dutch origin Yago Riedijk, distanced herself from her earlier statements about Daesh, including her shocking confession: “When I saw my first severed head it didn’t faze me at all”. According to her, she said those things as she was afraid of the other inmates in the camp where she was being held at the time. The centre has 70,000 Deash family members and is regarded as a “ticking time bomb” of Islamism, according to the outlet.
“I said those things then to protect myself and my unborn son. That is all. I did not receive threats [from Daesh women] at first because I made it seem as if I was with them, that I still supported Isis and was against the West and still radical”, she said, branding it “a facade to protect me and my son” and insisting that she hates Deash.
She also denied rumours that she had worked for the Islamists’ morality police, helped to sew suicide bombers’ vests, or to recruit other women.
“That is such bulls**t. For the first eight months [in the “Caliphate”] I was waiting at home for my husband who was in prison suspected of spying. After that I was constantly making babies. I did not even speak Arabic”, she insisted.
As Begum told the Daily Mail, she has never been visited by British officials and only learned that her citizenship had been revoked from a journalist.
“They showed me the letter that my family had received”, the woman noted, also revealing that she had not spoken to her family, whom she described as a “stereotypical Asian family” (as her parents are originally from Bangladesh), since she fled five years ago.