It's amazing what the collapse of a caliphate will do to a girl. Shamima Begum popped up on GMB this morning sporting a Nike baseball cap, pink nail varnish and a sleeveless top to ask the British public for forgiveness. The former London schoolgirl who ran away to Syria in 2015 has spent the past two years, err, trying to get back into the UK after it turned out that life in the Islamic State was not quite the land of milk and honey she envisaged.
Begum told hosts Susanna Reid and Richard Madeley that she had no idea that Isis was a death cult, stating baldly that: 'I thought it was an Islamic community' before adding 'I did not know that there was war... well I did know there was a war, but not where women and children were living. I did not know that Isis were trying to take over the world.' Clearly their messaging needs some work – unlike Shamima's thriving PR operation.
Her defence to Reid and Madeley was that she 'made a mistake at a very young age' when 'most young people don’t know what they want to do with their lives'. Maybe, but most just go and do a gap year in Botswana, rather than join jihadists. She continued, with commendable understatement that: 'I know it's very hard for the British people to try and forgive me.'
Begum even made the extraordinary offer to be an 'asset' in Britain's anti-radicalisation efforts, claiming boldly that: 'the government can see I’m willing to help them in their fight against terrorism. They should see me as an asset instead of a threat to them.' With friends like these eh...
It's worth noting of course what Begum is accused of having done out in Syria. The Daily Telegraph revealed she was an 'enforcer' in the Islamic State's 'morality police' and tried to recruit other young women to join the jihadist group; the Mail on Sunday reported allegations that she stitched bombers into explosive vests so they could not be removed without detonating. She had the privilege of carrying a Kalashnikov rifle and was renowned as a strict enforcer of the regime's laws including dress codes for women.
Mr S wonders what Shamima in Syria would have made of her current attire.