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UK 'Won't Hesitate' to Block Return of ISIS Schoolgirl

Minister says Begum could lose citizenship
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2019 4:10 AM CST
This is a still taken from CCTV issued by the Metropolitan Police in London on Monday Feb. 23, 2015, of 15-year-old Amira Abase, left, Kadiza Sultana,16, centre, and Shamima Begum, 15, going through...   (AP Photo/Metropolitan Police)
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(Newser) – Shamima Begum, who ran away from her London home to join ISIS when she was 15, now wants to go home—but authorities have signaled they will try to block her return. "My message is clear," Home Secretary Sajid Javid tells the Times of London. "If you have supported terrorist organisations abroad I will not hesitate to prevent your return." He says those who left the UK to join the group were "full of hate for our country," and if they do manage to return, they can expect to be "questioned, investigated, and potentially prosecuted." Begum, now 19, told a reporter who found her in a Syrian refugee camp that she didn't regret going to Syria, but she wanted to return to Britain for the sake of the baby that she was due to give birth to. She said two other children had died in recent months.

Javid said people who posed a "serious threat" could be stripped of their British citizenship or kept out in other ways, though the BBC notes that is illegal under international law to make a person stateless. The fate of the apparently unrepentant Begum, who said she had fled the group's last stronghold in Syria two weeks ago, has caused an intense debate in Britain, with some arguing that she should be shown compassion because she was still a child when she fled the country, the AP reports. Relative Mohammad Rahman tells the Times that he believes she should be allowed to return, "as long as the government is satisfied she has turned her back on their ideology." (Read more ISIS stories.)

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