Shamima Begum, originally from the United Kingdom, entered Syria at the age of 15 to become a member of the terrorist organization Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). She and two other students from London’s Bethnal Green Academy—later dubbed the “Bethany Green trio”—visited Syria in February 2015.
In February 2019, war reporter Anthony Loyd found Begum alive at the Al-Hawl refugee camp in northern Syria. The next day, Sajid Javid, who was in charge of the British Home Office, took away her British citizenship. In July 2020, the Court of Appeal said that Begum should be able to go back to the UK so she could hire lawyers and fight the Home Secretary’s decision fairly. But On February 26, 2021, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled against her, overturning the Court of Appeal’s decision and making it impossible for her to come back.
In February 2023, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission said that Javid’s decision to take Begum’s British citizenship away was legal because it was for the safety of the country.
The removal of Begum’s British citizenship has prompted widespread expressions of sympathy and demands for information about her background in Syria. Is she still with her terrorist husband and how did they get married? This article will focus on her husband and the couple’s relationship.
Meet Shamima Begum’s Husband
Ten days after her arrival in Syria, Begum married a fellow member of ISIL, Riedijk and the couple had three little children who all tragically perished. In October 2014, Riedijk left the Dutch city of Arnhem and went to Syria. His neighbors in Arnhem say that Riedijk grew up in a “lovely” middle-class family before he became a Muslim and joined ISIS.
Reidijk is now being held in prison by Kurdish forces in Syria, where they caught him. From jail in Syria, he told the BBC that Begum gave him a list of “weird” questions and requests before the ceremony, such as whether she would be able to see her friends. He told her, “All I wanted was a partner with whom I could rest and who would take care of me.”
I asked her if she could cook, and she said she could. “Our meeting was 10 minutes max. We decided to give it a try. We don’t do things like go on dates or go out to eat together. You spend some time getting to know each other, and if you like each other, you decide to take this step.”
Where is Begum’s Husband Now?
In an interview with The Times in 2019, Begum said that the last time she saw her husband was when they left the village of Baghuz, Isis’s last stronghold, at the beginning of February. He gave himself up to a group of fighters who were working with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Begum was taken to the al-Hawl refugee camp, and Riedijk is being held in a different camp. In 2020, The Sun got a video in which he said Begum got benefits from ISIS and was paid twice as much as other jihadists. When asked if ISIS paid Shamima while he was in jail, he said, “Yes, my friend got my salary.” Lucky for her, they did give her that.” He was asked at the time what he would say to his wife from prison.
He said: “Even though everything we’ve been through has been hard, stay strong. “I’d tell her to use her time well, do everything she can, and learn everything she can to build a future for herself and for us. “In terms of caring for children and being a housewife in the future.”
Is Shamima Begum Still Married To Riedijk?
It looks like they are no longer married, but it’s not clear for sure. In a July 2021 interview, Riedijk said that he and Begum were married and that they had agreed on a dowry. Riedikj said that the young woman who got married to an Isis fighter is using Western governments to try to get back home.
Begum told Good Morning Britain in September 2021 that she would “rather die” than go back to Isis. When asked if ISIS had tried to get her to join, she said, “I think yes, I was groomed, used, and tricked into coming.” She said that she didn’t know Isis was a death cult at the time.
She said, “I thought I was joining an Islamic community.” She said this from northern Syria, “Isis members gave me a lot of information on the internet, telling me that I needed to leave the UK because I couldn’t be a good Muslim there.”