Shamima begum

Watch: Shamima Begum begs for forgiveness on breakfast TV

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

The nine worst responses to Afghanistan’s fall

The fall of Afghanistan has provoked much comment and soul-searching on both sides of the Atlantic. Along with the usual talking heads and thumping op-eds, the Taliban’s imminent victory has prompted some truly awful takes from some of the less distinguished figures in public life. Below is Mr Steerpike’s guide to some of the most tone-deaf, stunningly crass and just plain sinister responses to the fall of Afghanistan. Stop the War Coalition and Richard Burgon Straight out the blocks with a statement was the hard left Stop the War Coalition, formerly chaired by one Jeremy Corbyn. The group has claimed the withdrawal from Afghanistan as vindication for its cause and called

Why is it so difficult to prosecute female terrorists?

For decades, terrorist organisations have targeted women for recruitment. Deployed as suicide bombers for Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, the Tamil Tigers, and Hamas – to name but a few – women have also died serving in frontline roles. Yet we are now faced with a new group of female terrorists that are proving difficult to prosecute. These are the women who joined Isis and now want to return home, often with their children in tow. New pictures of Shamima Begum, released this week, serve to underscore this point. Begum’s story captivated the British public when she left the UK with her two friends to join Islamic State in 2015, aged

The twisted logic of Shamima Begum’s defenders

Shamima Begum is back in the news. Firstly because she’s had a makeover. She can be seen on the front page of today’s Telegraph sporting long, flowing locks, trendy shades and Western clothing. Is Shamima the Islamist now aspiring to be Shamima the celeb? Perhaps she’s angling for her own reality TV show: The Real Housewives of Raqqa. But the second reason she’s in the news is because the British-Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor has expressed sympathy for her. He says she’s a victim of British racism. I really wish Sir Anish would stick to what he’s (very) good at — public art installations — and leave the Shamima business alone.

Shamima Begum is not a victim

A dark cloud hangs over the Al Hol Camp where Shamima Begum is being held in North-Eastern Syria. She is said to be ‘angry and upset’ at the decision of the Supreme Court to not allow her to return to the UK to contest the loss of her citizenship. This bleak picture stands in stark contrast to the feelings of the vast majority of the British public that will be raising a toast to the Supreme Court and thanking them for putting their interests ahead of an ISIS terrorist.  Ever since Shamima Begum was ‘discovered’ in a Syrian Democratic Force holding camp by the Times Journalist Anthony Lloyd, the UK

Denying Shamima Begum a return to Britain could backfire

Today’s decision by the Supreme Court to prevent Shamima Begum from returning to the UK and mounting a legal challenge to the removal of her citizenship sends a strong message to other hopeful Isis returnees. But it might not be a victory in every sense. Begum’s return to the UK was described by the Home Office as a move that would create ‘significant national security risks’. The government argued that it would expose the British public to an ‘increased risk of terrorism’. They’re right to do so. We know that just one in ten Isis returnees have faced prosecution. The challenges faced by authorities investigating offences committed in overseas conflict zones, such as

James Forsyth

Shamima Begum’s citizenship should never have been taken away

The Supreme Court has today upheld the ban on Shamima Begum returning to this country to contest the Home Secretary’s decision to strip her of her citizenship. The judges ruled that her right to a fair hearing did not trump national security considerations. But Begum should never have been stripped of her citizenship in the first place. She was born in this country, grew up here and was educated here. This makes her British. To pretend otherwise is absurd. Stripping her of her citizenship allows us to ignore the fact that someone from this country – a liberal democracy with the rule of law – went to live in a self-proclaimed caliphate

The Begum Appeal is a fundamental error of logic

There has been an emotional response to the case of Shamima Begum, quite rightly. It is not clear to me that lawyers are better equipped than politicians to navigate such emotions, but sadly we live in an age which is increasingly demanding legal answers to political questions. What is perhaps surprising is that, with uncharacteristic vigour, our Court of Appeal have jumped headfirst into the maelstrom. The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) – created to consider cases like these – found against Ms Begum in February, which seemed largely uncontroversial at the time. But the latest decision was made by three Court of Appeal Judges, who turned their minds to two questions:

Why the government moved against Julian Lewis

15 min listen

Chris Grayling failed to win the chairmanship of the Intelligence and Security Committee on Wednesday evening. In his stead, Julian Lewis clinched the position, and No 10 withdrew the whip from Lewis. On the podcast, Cindy Yu talks to Katy Balls and James Forsyth about why this happened and whether it’s better to rule by fear or love. Also on the episode: Shamima Begum and Patrick Vallance’s comments on working from home.

Macer Gifford: My fight against Isis

In mid 2015, Macer Gifford, the City trader who went to Syria to fight Isis, got an unexpected phone call. He was in London for a break and busy doing media interviews as the unofficial spokesman for the Kurdish YPG militia. The caller, though, wasn’t just another hack after a quote. Instead, it was a lawyer whose client was on the ‘other side’. Tasnime Akunjee said he was working for the family of Shamima Begum, the teenager from Bethnal Green who had run away to join Isis. ‘He said they were looking at trying to get her out of Raqqa,’ remembers Gifford. ‘He asked if there was any way the