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Shamima Begum: Baby of British teenager who joined ISIS dies in Syrian camp

She was 15 when she sneaked away from home in East London with two friends and joined the Islamic state. For four years, Shamima Begum was found in a Syrian refugee camp, pregnant and asked to return home.

Her request requested a national debate in Britain on what the government owed to the young woman, who willingly joined the group as a minor and in media interviews seemed to show little regret, even when she asked to be let at home. Her family members later said that the British government informed them that it was planning to release Begum, now 19, of its citizenship.

But now the British home minister Sajid Javid is on fire, after Begum's infant's son, born three weeks ago, fell ill and died in the Syrian camp.

"The tragic death of Shamima Begum's baby Jarrah is a blemish of this government's conscience," said Diane Abbott, a leader of the opposition party. "The home secretary failed with this British child and he has a lot to answer for."

Begum's desire to return home met with great controversy in Britain. Some thought she was an imminent threat to national security, while others claimed she joined the terrorist group as a naive teenager and deserved the chance to come home. In an interview with a reporter from the Times of London, who found her in the Syrian camp, she said she wanted to return home largely because of her son's health.

"I'm afraid this baby will get sick in this camp," she told the newspaper. "That's why I really want to come back to the UK, because I know it will be taken care of, like, health, at least."

Begum continued to create media, shocking Britons and her family, sometimes defending the Islamic state. At one point, she told the BBC that, although she was unhappy that innocent people had been killed, she felt that the 201

7 bombing of an arena in Manchester was "fair just" in response to coalition disasters that killed women and children in Syria. In an interview with Sky News, a reporter asked if she had regretted before the Islamic state lost control of Raqqa, ISIS headquarters in northern Syria. Begum replied "no".

Her situation has raised difficult ethical and legal issues about foreigners who go with terrorist organizations abroad. Proponents of Begum say it is unfair to revoke their citizenship rather than bring her home and let her go. Begum's family has roots in Bangladesh, but officials have made it clear that Begum does not qualify for Bangladesh's citizenship, which means that Britain's decision to remove her from British citizenship can essentially make her stateless.

An Alabama woman is facing a similar situation. President Trump has said that the United States does not allow Hoda Muthana, a 24-year-old who joined the Islamic state and now lives with his son in a Syrian refugee camp, back into the country. She claimed she was "brainwashed" by the group and wants to return home.

In Begum's case, Javid had previously told the British Parliament that "children would not suffer, so if a parent loses his British citizenship, it does not affect their children's rights".

Begum's sister wrote a letter to Javid and asked him to help the family bring their infant brother to the UK. Begum said she had born two other children in Syria, both of whom died. Her husband, Yago Riedijk, a Dutchman who has allowed to fight for the Islamic state, is held at a Kurdish detention center. He recently told the BBC that he would like to return to the Netherlands with his wife and son.

In an interview published Saturday on the BBC, Begum's father apologized on her behalf and asked "the British people, forgive her."

"Unfortunately, there are probably many children, apparently completely innocent, who have been born in this war zone," Javi d told the BBC before the child's death was confirmed. "I have nothing but sympathy for the children who have been involved in this. This is a reminder of why it is so dangerous that someone is in this war zone."

On Twitter, Abbott continued on Javid and said that he "had a moral responsibility for the child".

"He's behaved shamefully," she said.

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