The brother-in-law of a runaway London schoolgirl turned ISIS widow Shamima Begum said today that he is stuck “between a rock and a hard place”.
Mohammed Rahman, an electrician, said he does not want to cause rifts between him and his brother’s family by airing his views on his sister-in-law’s bid to return to Britain.
His intervention came as the Court of Appeal ruled on Thursday 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”.
Mr Rahman said: “She’s part of my extended family. I am not going to try and cause any rifts between me and my brother.
“I’m very uncomfortable with the whole situation. I’m in between a rock and a hard place. I have my own opinions. I don’t want to offend anyone.”
He said he was not very “close” to Ms Begum’s family, saying he found out she went to Syria on the news and about the Court of Appeal’s decision via Twitter.
Mr Rahman said: “I’m not very close with my brother’s wife – I’ve met Shamima, but only at family functions. There’s a big age difference between me and her anyway. That’s it.
“I have sympathy for her family. It’s a tough thing for a family to lose a child, but that’s as far as I’ll go.
“I only found out she went to Syria on the news. I didn’t even know. They didn’t broach it with me. You take the hint.”
Mr Rahman said he could see both sides of the argument over whether Ms Begum should be allowed to return to the UK.
He said: “If that’s what she can do, that’s what she can do. I can’t see what other option she has.
“I can understand her point of view, equally I see how people can say ‘you’ve made your bed and now lie in it.'”
Earlier today a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Government is “bitterly disappointed” in the Court of Appeal’s judgement.
A spokeswoman for the Home Office, which revoked the citizenship, said it would pursue an appeal.
Now 20, if Ms Begum returns to the UK – a prospect that could be anywhere from six months to a year or longer from now – she could be arrested and charged.
She was one of three east London schoolgirls who left Bethnal Green and travelled to Syria via Turkey to join the terror group in February 2015.
She lived under Islamic State rule for more than three years before she was found, nine months pregnant, at the al-Hol refugee camp in Syria in February last year.
Ms Begum, who has since been moved to the al-Roj refugee camp in Syria, told reporters she didn’t regret joining ISIS, but begged to be rescued and brought back to the UK.
Her three children were fathered by her since-captured ISIS fighter, and all died in Syria.
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