Shamima Begum: 'IS bride was taken into Syria by people smuggler who was Canadian spy'

A Canadian intelligence agent smuggled Shamima Begum and her two friends into Syria, according to reports.

Ms Begum fled her east London home for Syria as a 15-year-old schoolgirl with Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase to join the so-called Islamic State group (IS) more than seven years ago.

She has denied any involvement in terror activities and is challenging a Government decision to remove her citizenship, while Ms Sultana was reportedly killed in a Russian air raid and Ms Abase is missing.

Hide Ad

According to the BBC, Mohammed Al Rasheed, who is alleged to have been a double agent working for the Canadians, met the girls in Turkey before taking them to Syria in February 2015.

Shamima Begum.
Hide Ad

Both news organisations reported that Rasheed was providing information to Canadian intelligence while smuggling people to IS.

A spokesman for the UK Government said: "It is our longstanding policy that we do not comment on operational intelligence or security matters."

Hide Ad

In a forthcoming podcast for the BBC, called I'm Not A Monster, Ms Begum is quoted as saying: "He (Rasheed) organised the entire trip from Turkey to Syria... I don't think anyone would have been able to make it to Syria without the help of smugglers.

"He had helped a lot of people come in... We were just doing everything he was telling us to do because he knew everything, we didn't know anything."

Hide Ad
Amira Abase, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Shamima Begum, 15, (pictured left to right) at Gatwick airport in February 2015.

In February 2019, Ms Begum was found, nine months pregnant, in a Syrian refugee camp. Her British citizenship was revoked on national security grounds shortly afterwards.

Hide Ad

She decided to challenge the Home Office's decision to remove her British citizenship and wanted to be allowed to return to the UK to pursue her appeal.

In July 2020, the Court of Appeal ruled that "the only way in which she can have a fair and effective appeal is to be permitted to come into the United Kingdom to pursue her appeal".

Hide Ad

The Home Office challenged the decision at the Supreme Court four months later. The Supreme Court ruled in February 2021 that Ms Begum should not be granted leave to enter the UK to pursue her appeal.

Last summer, during an interview, Ms Begum said she wanted to be brought back to the UK to face charges and added in a direct appeal to the Prime Minister that she could be "an asset" in the fight against terror.

Hide Ad

She added that she had been "groomed" to flee to Syria as a "dumb" and impressionable child.

Begum said she married Dutch convert Yago Riedijk 10 days after arriving in IS territory.

Hide Ad

She previously told The Times that she left Raqqa in January 2017 with her husband but her children, a one-year-old girl and a three-month-old boy, had both died.

Her third child died in the al-Roj camp in March 2019, shortly after he was born.

Hide Ad

She has consistently denied helping to plan any terror attacks on behalf of IS.

She added that she would “rather die than go back to IS”, saying: “The only crime I committed was being dumb enough to join IS.”



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.