The Shamima Begum Story: BBC Two release date of documentary - where is London teen who joined ISIS now?

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The BBC documentary attempts to understand why Shamima Begum left the UK and what she did during her time living with ISIS

Shamima Begum is one of three London schoolgirls, known as the Bethnal Green trio who travelled to Syria in 2015 to join Islamic State. She will feature in a new feature-length BBC documentary, The Shamima Begum Story, where she speaks to an investigative journalist.

Begum married Yago Riedijk, then aged 23, a Dutch extremist 10 days after arriving in Syria. Begum had three children, all of whom died young - Riedijk is believed to be currently held by Kurdish forces in Syria.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The two schoolgirls that Begum travelled to Syria with - Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana - are both believed to have died in the country, although the reports are unconfirmed.

Begum is believed to have acted as an enforcer in Syria, involved in recruiting for ISIS and allegedly stitching bombs into suicide vests. Begum has since said that she was trafficked and hopes to be able to return to the UK.

In interviews with the media Begum made conflicting statements, saying that she did not feel fazed by seeing the head of a man who had been beheaded because she believed he was an enemy of Islam. She also said that she regrets joining ISIS and that she is not a bad person.

Shamima Begum lost her British citizenship in 2019Shamima Begum lost her British citizenship in 2019
Shamima Begum lost her British citizenship in 2019

What is The Shamima Begum Story about?

The feature-length documentary revisits the case of Shamima Begum and how she became a central figure in the public debate over human trafficking, terrorism, and citizenship.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Begum has spent years in a Syrian refugee camp, and has been in contact with BBC investigative journalist and podcaster Josh Baker for more than a year. The documentary features Begum’s own account of what has happened to her since she left the UK for Syria.

Baker, who has followed Begum’s story since 2015, attempts to understand why she left, how she was able to make the journey to Syria, and what she did during her time living with ISIS.

Where is Shamima Begum now?

It was discovered that Begum was alive and living in a refugee camp in northern Syria - the day after she was discovered, then Home Secretary Sajid Javid stripped her of her British citizenship.

The Al-Hawl refugee camp, where Shamima Begum was discovered in 2019The Al-Hawl refugee camp, where Shamima Begum was discovered in 2019
The Al-Hawl refugee camp, where Shamima Begum was discovered in 2019

The UK government argued that she has Bangladeshi citizenship through her parents, but this has been contested by the government of Bangladesh, so Begum is currently officially stateless. The government of Bangladesh has suggested that Begum would face the death penalty if she entered the country.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Begum was granted legal aid to contest the British government’s decision to revoke her citizenship - the appeal is based on the argument that Begum was a victim of human trafficking and was smuggled into Syria by a Canadian spy.

Now aged 23, Begum is still waiting on a judgement to her appeal, and continues to live in the refugee camp run by Syrian Democratic Forces. Begum cooperated with BBC investigative reporter Josh Baker on the second series of the I’m Not a Monster podcast, speaking about why she travelled to Syria.

When is The Shamima Begum Story on TV?

The documentary special will air on BBC Two on Tuesday 7 February at 9pm - it is available to watch on BBC iPlayer now.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.