The issue of so-called British jihadist bride Shamima Begum became politically explosive after she demanded of British authorities to be repatriated earlier this month. The now 19-year old joined Islamic State in 2015 after fleeing the UK when she was just 15. She's recently given birth in a Syrian refugee camp and is demanding safe return to Britain for fear that she and her child could die in the camp, so near the war zone.
It appears that UK authorities have responded by revoking Begum's UK citizenship, per a breaking report by UK ITV News:
Islamic State schoolgirl Shamima Begum has had her British citizenship revoked, her family has been told in a letter from the Home Office. The letter, obtained by ITV News, was received by Ms Begum's mother on Tuesday. "Please find enclosed papers that relate to a decision taken by the Home Secretary, to deprive your daughter, Shamima Begum, of her British citizenship," the letter read.
ITV News has published the letter, which further reads: "In light of the circumstances of your daughter, the notice of the Home Secretary's decision has been served of file today (19th February), and the order removing her British citizenship has subsequently been made."
As Shamima Begum is still reportedly in a refugee camp in northern Syria, the letter requested that her family relay the news. The family's lawyer has commented the "Family are very disappointed with the Home Office's intention to have an order made depriving Shamima of her citizenship." The statement added further, "We are considering all legal avenues to challenge this decision."
Under the 1981 British Nationality Act, UK authorities have the legal right to revoke a person's citizenship should it be "conducive to the public good" and they won't become stateless as a result. As of a little over a week ago she was living inside what's said to be ISIS' last pocket of Baghuz, in Syria Deir ez-Zor province. According to the BBC, "She is believed to be of Bangladeshi heritage but when asked by the BBC, she said did not have a Bangladesh passport and had never been to the country."
Begum said in a recent interview that she now wants the UK's forgiveness and supports "some British values". She added that she never intended to be an ISIS "poster girl" but still defended many aspects to life under the terrorist group:
Ms Begum has said she does not regret travelling to Syria and was partly inspired by videos of fighters beheading hostages, as well as by videos showing "the good life" under IS.
However, she said she did not agree with everything the group had done.
"I actually do support some British values and I am willing to go back to the UK and settle back again and rehabilitate and that stuff," she told the BBC.
Conservatives in Britain, such as Interior Minister Sajid Javid have previously argued that "dangerous individuals" coming back to the UK from battlefields in the Middle East should be stripped of their British citizenship. He said this option has already been "so far exercises more than 100 times," otherwise he also advocates prosecution of apprehended returning suspects "regardless of their age and gender."
Javid further recently told MPs that he would not "hesitate to prevent" the return of Britons who set off for the Middle East to join ISIS.
The timing of the debate over Begum's fate, which has become a hot topic controversy in British media and politics of late, is further interesting given President Trump's "ultimatum" issued to European governments last Sunday.
Britons have been enraged by the "ISIS bride's" request.
Trump issued provocative tweets on Sunday wherein he urged European countries to "take back" and prosecute some 800 ISIS foreign fighters as US forces withdraw from Syria, or else "we will be forced to release them." The message has been met with a mix of shock, confusion and indifference in Europe. Trump had warned European leaders that the terrorists could subsequently "permeate Europe".
The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial. The Caliphate is ready to fall. The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them........— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2019
....The U.S. does not want to watch as these ISIS fighters permeate Europe, which is where they are expected to go. We do so much, and spend so much - Time for others to step up and do the job that they are so capable of doing. We are pulling back after 100% Caliphate victory!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2019
Perhaps the most direct response came from Denmark, where a spokesperson for Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said immediately following Trump's tweets that Copenhagen won’t take back Danish Islamic State foreign fighters to stand trial in the country, according to the German Press Agency DPA. “We are talking about the most dangerous people in the world. We should not take them back,” the spokesperson stressed, and added that the war in Syria is ongoing, making the US president's statement premature.
In stripping UK "schoolgirl" Begum of her UK citizenship (the media's repeat attempts to portray the 19-year old adult as a "schoolgirl" has angered many), it appears London is slamming the door on the possibility of bringing her back to the UK for trial in what may be the most direct rejection of Trump's words yet.