A former currency trader who left his job to fight the Islamic State in 2014 has said that it is “nonsense” to suggest Shamima Begum is a “victim”.
Begum ran away from her home in Bethnal Green, London, to join the terror group in 2015, and has said she now wants to return to the UK.
Macer Gifford (a pseudonym) told Julia Hartley-Brewer that the teenager should “not set one single foot in the UK”.
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Mr Gifford was inspired to join the People’s Protection Units (YPG) of Syrian Kurds fighting IS after seeing British IS recruit ‘Jihadi John’ beheading victims in videos.
“This young woman… has been speaking quite frankly about it and how she has no regrets. Should she be allowed to return home to Britain?” asked Hartley-Brewer.
“She shouldn’t set one single foot in the UK until we have the legislation to deal with her and the many British people who are likely to come back now,” said Mr Gifford.
“The only way we can keep people safe is introducing new legislation. She’s even more dangerous now she’s spent all that time in ISIS territory than she was before she left.”
He claimed that IS was encouraging loyalists to return to their home countries to continue terror activities there.
“I’ve heard recently that the Islamic State has briefed its foreign fighters that they should return to their home countries, plead ignorance and their human rights, and start the war when they get back to Europe. These are dangerous people,” he said.
'We don't owe her anything'
Mr Gifford continued: “She certainly doesn’t show any regret at the moment. We need to keep the British public safe, we don’t owe her anything. She knew what she was joining, she still sympathises with them, she still remains a threat, so the only way she should come back to the UK is if she faces a very long prison sentence…
“The narrative that’s been spun by some activists is that she’s somehow a victim who was groomed online, that’s complete nonsense.”
He said the UK needed to do more to prevent young people being radicalised in the first place.
“We need to start realising that Britain sent over 1,000 young men and women to join the Islamic State, and that’s a fundamental failing in the UK…
“The real challenge in the future is how can we unite Britain and prevent more young people from joining extremist groups like ISIS?”