Abdul Momen said in a May 2 interview that his government “had nothing to do with” Begum and insisted she is not a citizen of Bangladesh.
Citing security concerns, the UK Home Office stripped the 19-year-old of British citizenship in February, blocking her return from Syria, where she remains in a refugee camp. The move is permissible under law provided it does not make Begum stateless. British authorities believed Begum is eligible for Bangladeshi citizenship.
The foreign minister said Begum could be arrested if she did go to Bangladesh and, if found guilty of involvement in terrorism, “she should be hanged.”
“If anyone is found to be involved with terrorism, we have a simple rule, there will be capital punishment. And nothing else,” Momen told ITV.
Begum has pleaded to be allowed to come back to the UK after running away from her London home in 2015 to travel to the so-called ISIS caliphate and join the jihadi terror cult.
She surfaced in Syria in February after escaping, along with other jihadi brides, from the last ISIS stronghold as it crumbled under the pressure of the allied forces.
‘Just a Housewife’ Versus Member of ‘Morality Police’
A recent report claims Begum, who earlier insisted she was “just a housewife,” was, in fact, a member of the dreaded ISIS “morality police.”
According to The Sunday Telegraph, Begum worked for al-Hisba, enforcing the terror cult’s strict dress code at the point of a gun. Sources told the British paper that Begum carried an AK-47 and had a reputation as a strict enforcer.
The Telegraph quoted an activist who recounted how Begum allegedly shouted at Syrian women in the city of Raqqa for wearing brightly colored shoes.
Aghiad al-Kheder, an activist who documents ISIS crimes, told the publication, “Members of our group from Raqqa knew her well.”
The report also claims Begum played a part in persuading other women to join the jihadi cause.
“Don’t believe any of the bad things you hear about Dawla [the ISIS caliphate], it’s fake. You have everything you want here,” she told a potential recruit in a message reported on by the Telegraph. “And we can help find you a good-looking husband.”
The Daily Mail also alleged Begum helped sew suicide bombers into their explosive vests. This was allegedly done in such a way that if the attackers tried to take off the vests, they would blow up.
The information was reportedly found by allied spy agencies during interviews with other Western ISIS converts.
It’s unknown whether Begum participated willingly, or whether she was coerced.
‘No Regrets’ Turns to Remorse
Begum’s initial unrepentant posture about joining ISIS drew online fury.
After British authorities denied her pleas to be allowed to return to the UK with her newborn child, she expressed regret about joining the jihadis and acknowledged she had been “brainwashed.”
Speaking to The Times of London in the al-Roj refugee camp in Syria on April 1, Begum said, “I do regret having children in the caliphate” and appealed to British authorities to be allowed to return to the UK.
“I came thinking it would be a place of belonging where I could raise a family safely,” Begum was cited by The Times as saying. “But it was not a place to have children.”
After joining ISIS in Syria, she married a jihadi recruit from Denmark.
Begum’s husband, Yago Riedijk, joined ISIS in 2014 and married her a year later when she was just 15 years old. They had three children, all of whom are dead.
Heavily pregnant with her third child, Begum surfaced in a Syrian refugee camp after fleeing the battle-scarred Baghouz. There she gave birth to a baby boy, who died on March 8.
“Since I left Baghouz, I really regretted everything I did, and I feel like I want to go back to the UK for a second chance to start my life over again,” she told The Times. “I was brainwashed. I came here believing everything that I had been told, while knowing little about the truths of my religion.”
Acknowledgment of Radicalization
Begum’s interview with The Times was the first time she’s admitted to having been radicalized.
“When I first came out of al-Dawlah [ISIS], I was still in the brainwashed mentality: I still supported them because of what they told me and what they taught me,” she told the publication.
In her first interview in February, Begum said that while she did not agree with everything the terror group had done, she had “no regrets” about joining ISIS and suggested that air strikes against the terror group in Syria somehow “justified” the Manchester Arena terror attack.
“It’s a two-way thing, really,” she told the BBC, adding that the suicide bomber that killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester was a “kind of retaliation” for bombardments of ISIS-held enclaves, adding, “So I thought, OK, that is a fair justification.”
"I didn't want to be IS poster girl" – London teenager Shamima Begum, who fled to join Islamic State group in Syria, says she now wants the UK's forgiveness
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) February 18, 2019
‘Potentially Very Dangerous’
Security experts such as British intelligence service head Alex Younger have warned that would-be returnees like Begum were “potentially very dangerous” because they were in “that sort of position,” and people like her were likely to have acquired certain “skills or connections.”
Survivors and other victims of the murderous cult’s reign of terror, meanwhile, are furious at the prospect of ISIS women getting a sympathetic hearing in the Western press, or worse—a free pass.
Ali Y. Al-Baroodi, who survived ISIS’s bloody occupation of Mosul, told The Jerusalem Post that claims on the part of jihadi brides that they were “just housewives,” as Begum has insisted, are not credible.
“It was hell on Earth and every single one of them made it so,” he said, asking sarcastically if perhaps local victims of the jihadi women should “apologize for disturbing their stay there.”
“[ISIS] demolished cities and hundreds of mass graves, [and left] thousands of orphans and widows.”
Author and academic Idrees Ahmad wrote in reference to Begum, according to the Post, “It’s impossible to muster sympathy for her.
“She went to Syria as a colonizer, several months after ISIS beheaded journalists and aid workers.”