A BRIT who married an ISIS soldier said runaway schoolgirl Shamima Begum should be allowed back in the UK.
Tania Joya, 35, was married to John Georgelas, an American Muslim convert who became one of the terror group’s leading militants known as Yahya al-Bahrumi.
Facebook Tania Joya thinks Shamima Begum should be allowed to return to the UK
They travelled to Syria in August 2013 but she become disillusioned with the murderous cult and managed to flee the war-torn country a month later, while pregnant and with their three children.
Ms Joya, who now works to tackle religious indoctrination and prevent violent extremism, compared her situation to Begum’s and said she should be allowed to return because she’d been “brainwashed.”
She told The Times Magazine: “Those Bethnal Green girls were sucked in by propaganda. They start supporting their team no matter how wrong their team is. I was the same.”
Criticising Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s controversial decision to strip the Londoner of her British citizenship she said: “He has just sentenced a child — Shamima’s baby — to death. [Javid] clearly doesn’t understand indoctrination, how it sucks people in. He doesn’t understand the psychology of what cults can do to young people.
“She has not been exposed to any other way of thinking. If her parents are anything like mine and the Bengali community that I knew when growing up, she has probably read the Koran, she probably went on Islamic websites which tell you to take it literally, and then she saw ISIS propaganda that looked slick and I’m sure she wanted a boyfriend.
“She’s a teenage girl and we are human beings. She probably thought it was a romantic idea to marry a warrior who lives abroad and is fighting for God.”
COULD HOLD VITAL INFORMATION
Ms Joya, who grew up in London but is now living in Texas, said Begum could provide vital information to help better understand extremism in Britain.
“Leaving her in that refugee camp will make her hate the West even more. We need to show her that we are better than what she knows now”, she added.
“She’s still only 19 and she’s been for four years around a group of very draconian-like, brutal people who really are not in tune with the 21st Century.
“I believe through education we can enlighten her.”
MARRIED ISIS MILITANT
The Brit, 19, fled to Syria when she was 15, with two friends from Bethnal Green high school, East London, and married a Dutch ISIS fighter.
The 19-year-old, who has called herself “weak” for wanting to return to her home country, had previously given birth to two children who died from malnutrition.
She said she feared she will never see her husband, the Dutch jihadist Yago Riedijk again, whom she still loved “very much”.
Riedijk, 26, a convert to Islam who grew up in a middle-class family home in Arnhem, is suspected by police of being involved in a terrorist plot in the Netherlands.
He was convicted in his absence last year of membership of a terrorist group.
Ms Joya compared it to her own husband, the only son of a former US military doctor who is thought to have converted to Islam shortly after 9/11, who died in Syria in 2017.
She said: “They were our first loves and we were so young and had children with that person.
“Once Shamima is out of that poisonous environment, she’ll learn with education and enlightenment what her true conscience really is.”
STRIPPED OF BRITISH CITIZENSHIP
After fleeing ISIS’s final stronghold of Baghuz, Begum was discovered this month in the al-Hawl refugee camp.
Begum, who subsequently gave birth to a son, had expressed her desire to return to Britain, but the government last week stripped her of citizenship.
She complained British officials had not shown her “courtesy” and claimed the government was making an example of her because of the intense media interest.
She told The Times she did not regret travelling to Syria and had not been fazed by the sight of “severed heads” in bins.
She later told Sky News the Manchester Arena terror attack, in which 22 music fans died, was “justified” by air strikes on ISIS.
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Last year the Home Office confirmed that about 400 Britons had returned to the UK after having fought with terror groups including ISIS.
Under international law, a person’s citizenship cannot be revoked if doing so would make them stateless, but the British government claims Begum has dual nationality with Bangladesh.
But Begum said she wouldn’t go to Bangladesh and had never stepped foot in the country. Bangladesh has said there is “no question” of her being allowed to enter the country.
The 19-year-old’s family in Britain is challenging the government’s decision to strip her of citizenship, saying she had been “groomed” by a “murderous and misogynistic cult” and deserves the chance of rehabilitation.
Anthony Loyd / The Times / News Licensing Shamima Begum has been stripped of her British citizenship
refer to caption Joya said Begum had been ‘brainwashed’ and said ‘through education we can enlighten her’
PA:Press Association Renu, eldest sister of Shamima Begum holds her sister’s photo while being interviewed by the media