UK: Shamima Begum Loses Citizenship Appeal

Photo: BBC News

The Facts

  • On Wednesday, Shamima Begum, a 23-year-old who joined the Islamic State (IS) in 2015, lost her appeal challenging then-Home Secretary Sajid Javid's 2019 decision to revoke her British citizenship. Begum claimed she was trafficked in her appeal.

  • The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) ruled that despite there being "credible suspicion" that Begum was recruited and transferred to IS at the age of 15 for "sexual exploitation," this was "insufficient" to deem Javid's decision as unlawful.

The Spin

Narrative A

The decision is disappointing, and the power to banish a citizen in such an ad hoc manner shouldn't exist in modern society. Lured to Syria as an impressionable 15-year-old, Begum was groomed and trafficked to join IS, and the UK should be treating her as the victim she is rather than leaving her stranded in Syria.

Narrative B

While this is a tragic case, Shamima Begum made a conscious decision to join a murderous terror group that she stayed with and supported for years, and she must take responsibility for her actions. The state has an obligation to prioritize national security, and the commission is right to stand by Javid's decision.

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