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UK, Bangladesh Wash their Hands of ISIS Briton

UK, Bangladesh Wash their Hands of ISIS Briton

Thursday, 21 February, 2019 - 06:45
British teenage girls Shamima Begun, Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana (L-R) before they boarded a flight to Turkey on their way to Syria on February 17, 2015, in still images taken from CCTV footage.
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
A London teenager who joined ISIS in Syria was on Wednesday facing the prospect of being stateless after Britain revoked her citizenship and authorities in Bangladesh, where her family is from, said they would not take her in.

Shamima Begum traveled to Syria aged just 15, but after giving birth in a refugee camp last weekend, she wants to come home.

Now 19, Begum said she was "shocked" at the decision by Britain to revoke her citizenship, a move announced in a letter to her family in Britain, according to their lawyer.

It was reported that she could be eligible for automatic citizenship in Bangladesh, where her mother is believed to be from, but the foreign ministry in Dhaka rejected this.

"She is a British citizen by birth and has never applied for dual nationality with Bangladesh," it said.

"It may also be mentioned that she never visited Bangladesh in the past despite her parental lineage. So, there is no question of her being allowed to enter into Bangladesh."

Speaking to the BBC in the refugee camp in eastern Syria, where she arrived after fleeing fighting between ISIS and US-backed forces, Begum said she was British.

"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," she said.

Her husband, an extremist believed to be held by Kurdish forces in Syria, is Dutch.

"Maybe I can ask for citizenship in Holland," said Begum. "If he gets sent back to prison in Holland I can just wait for him while he is in prison."

Her family's lawyer, Tasnime Akunjee said he was "considering all legal avenues to challenge" Britain's decision.

Begum left the UK with two school friends in 2015.

Also Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States will not repatriate a woman born in the US who left Alabama to join ISIS in Syria some four years ago.

"Hoda Muthana is not a US citizen and will not be admitted into the United States. She does not have any legal basis, no valid US passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States," a Pompeo statement said.

"Muthana’s citizenship has not been revoked because she was never a US citizen," said a State Department official who asked not to be named.

Muthana's family lives in the US and has been mobilizing a legal campaign to facilitate her return. She has reportedly expressed some regret over her actions. She left the US when she was 19.

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