February 5, 2023

By Rory Tingle, Mailonline Home Affairs Correspondent and Paul Revoir of The Daily Mail

Shamima Begum has admitted that she never considered backing down as she traveled 700 miles across Turkey to join ISIS.

The former London schoolgirl, who was 15 when she made the trip in 2015, tells a new BBC podcast that she could have returned safely to the UK, but decided against it.

Asked by journalist Joshua Baker if she ever considered backing out of her plan to join the death cult, she says, “No, not during the trip.”

When asked if it would have been possible not to cross into Syria, he replies: ‘I think so. But I think my friends and the smuggler would have pressured me to continue. And at that time I was very afraid of being arrested and going to prison.’

Begum also describes the process of crossing the Syrian border as ‘easy’.

Shamima Begum tells in a new episode of a BBC podcast that she could have safely returned to the UK, but decided against it.

1674059700 762 Shamima Begum Tells Bbc She Never Considered Stopping Her Journey

In episode two of I’m Not a Monster: The Shamima Begum Story, Baker traces Begum’s story from Turkey to Syria.

Local presenter and journalist Zeynep Bilginsoy begins at an Istanbul bus station where the Londoner and her two friends encountered a smuggler, apparently Mohammed Al Rasheed.

Describing his journey forward, he says: “We were on the bus for half a day, then we got off and got into a bunch of cars and changed cars seven times before we got to the border.

“At some points we also got separated and we were wondering what was going on. We were getting a lot of adrenaline.

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Recalling the moment they arrived at the border, he says: “There were Syrian men waiting for us who helped us carry our bags and the smuggler told us to cross the border with them. It was so easy.’

Baker and Bilginsoy track down a taxi in which he traveled through Turkey, but the driver refuses to speak to them.

They then try to talk to the human traffickers, and in a terrifying exchange, a gangster asks the couple for money and, when they ignore his request, threatens to make them ‘disappear’.

In Episode Two Of I Am Not A Monster: The Shamima Begum Story, Host Joshua Baker Traces Begum'S Story From Turkey To Syria.  Pictured: Begum With Her Friends Amira Abase And Kadiza Sultana At The Istanbul Bus Station

In episode two of I Am Not a Monster: The Shamima Begum Story, host Joshua Baker traces Begum’s story from Turkey to Syria. Pictured: Begum with her friends Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana at the Istanbul bus station

Baker later receives a secret memo about Mohammed Al Rasheed, the ISIS people smuggler and Canadian spy accused of smuggling Begum and her two friends into Syria, warning to “be careful” because it could “embarrass powerful people.” .

Poll

Should the UK take Begum back?

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The BBC has come under fire for giving Begum a 10-part podcast, in which she claims she is different from how people perceive her.

It is understood that the BBC has not paid him any money for his part in the series.

But critics say the corporation should not give it the “oxygen” of publicity amid concerns it will allow it to “spin” a “sad story” and use it as a public relations opportunity.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance campaign group said in a social media post that money from the BBC’s license fee “should not support this shameful public relations exercise to spin the sad story of an ISIS bride.”

The Bbc Has Insisted That The Series ¿Is Not A Platform For Shamima Begum To Tell Her Undisputed Story¿ But A ¿Robust Investigation In The Public Interest¿

The BBC has insisted that the series is “not a platform for Shamima Begum to tell her undisputed story”, but a “robust public interest investigation”.

In 2015, Begum (Centre), Then 15, Sultana (Left), 15, And Abase (Right), 16, Fled Their East London Homes To Join Islamic State.  His Two Companions Are Believed To Have Died While There.

In 2015, Begum (centre), then 15, Sultana (left), 15, and Abase (right), 16, fled their east London homes to join Islamic State. His two companions are believed to have died while there.

The BBC has said that the series is “not a platform for Shamima Begum to tell her undisputed story”, but a “robust investigation in the public interest”.

In the opening episode, she states, “I’m not that person they think the media perceives me to be, they know I’m so much more than ISIS and so much more than anything I’ve ever been.” through.’

He also talks about when he went to Syria to join the terrorist group, saying that he had packed mint chocolate because he couldn’t find it in that country.

In another section, Begum says that when people think of Isis, “they think of me because I’ve been put in the media so much.” The other two girls who joined her, who also attended Bethnal Green Academy, were Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana.

The podcast explores how Begum got to Syria and what she did when she got there.

– I am not a monster: Shamima Begum’s story is now available on BBC Sounds