Britain to strip Daesh teen of citizenship

Shamima Begum, now 19, expressed no regrets about fleeing her London life four years ago but said that two of her children had died and, pregnant with her third, she wanted to return to the UK. (File/AFP)
Updated 20 February 2019
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Britain to strip Daesh teen of citizenship

  • The case points to a dilemma facing many European countries, divided over whether to allow Daesh sympathizers home
  • Begum is currently in a refugee camp in northeast Syria where she fled to escape fighting in the east of the country

LONDON: Britain will strip citizenship from a UK teenager who joined the Daesh group in Syria but now wants to return home with her newborn baby, a lawyer for her family said Tuesday.
Shamima Begum’s fate has stirred controversy since she and two friends fled London to join the terror network four years ago when she was aged just 15.
The case points to a dilemma facing many European countries, divided over whether to allow extremists and Daesh sympathizers home to face prosecution or barring them over security concerns as the so-called “caliphate” crumbles.
A lawyer for her family, Tasnime Akunjee, said on Twitter that they were “very disappointed with the Home Office’s intention to have an order made depriving Shamima of her citizenship,” and that they were considering “all legal avenues.”
ITV News reported that the Home Office has sent a letter to Begum’s mother, received Tuesday, notifying the family of the decision which it said the teen had the right to appeal.
Britain’s Home Office reportedly believes that Begum, who is of Bangladeshi heritage, is entitled to claim citizenship there.
“In order to protect this country, (the home secretary) has the power to deprive someone of their British citizenship where it would not render them stateless,” the Press Association reported the Home Office as saying, adding it would not comment on individual cases.
Begum is currently in a refugee camp in northeast Syria where she fled to escape fighting in the east of the country along with hundreds of other people with links to Daesh.
At the weekend she gave birth to her third child, and appealed to British authorities to show “compassion” by allowing her to raise the baby in Britain — while expressing no regret over having joined Daesh.
She has previously given birth to two other children after marrying in Syria. Both children have died, apparently from illness and malnutrition.
“I’m afraid he might even die in this camp,” Begum said of her newborn. “I feel a lot of people should have sympathy for me, for everything I’ve been through,” she told Sky News, adding that “I didn’t know what I was getting into when I left.”
However, in an interview with the BBC on Monday, she compared the Manchester Arena bombing to military strikes on Daesh strongholds, calling the terror attack “retaliation.”
European countries have been grappling with what to do with foreign fighters detained in Syria by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who have warned they may not be able to guard their jails once US troops leave.
The British government on Monday rebuffed US President Donald Trump’s call to take back alleged UK extremists captured in the war-ravaged country.
Trump had called on Britain, France, Germany and other European allies “to take back over 800 IS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial.”
Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said the fighters should instead face justice in places where they committed their crimes.


Man arrested for London mosque shooting

Updated 23 May 2019
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Man arrested for London mosque shooting

  • The suspect was charged with possession of firearms with intent to cause harm or fear
  • Police say the suspect may have had a fight earlier in a nearby street

DUBAI: A man has been arrested after he fired a gun in a London mosque, UK daily The Metro reported.

The man entered the Seven Kings Mosque in London, on Thursday, May 9, while worshippers performed Ramadan prayers and fired a gun, the report added.

He was arrested on charges of possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
There were no reports of injuries or damages to the building, ballistic evidence suggests the detainee may have used a blank-firing handgun, police said.

Police investigations said it is possible the incident started after an earlier argument in a nearby street.

A mosque attendee, Ibraheem Hussain, said he heard the gunshot almost half an hour after prayers began, adding that he was concerned for the safety of worshippers.

“(Christchurch) comes to mind, it’s crazy to think this would happen in London, especially after everything that has happened,” he told Metro.