Bethnal Green locals view Shamima Begum used as a scapegoat and would welcome her return

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Many Britons would tell you that Shamima Begum lost her right to be a British citizen when she fled to join the Islamic State in Syria when she was 15 years old, yet her hometown wants her back.

Many locals in Bethnal Green, a gentrified area of London’s east end, agree that she ought to go back home, from the mosques to the middle-class gastropubs.

The closest mosque to Begum’s family home is Baitul Aman, where Bisher, a volunteer, says, “She would be welcomed back.” Around the mosque, a nearby street has fifteen Palestinian flags waving in the breeze from every other pole.

“She was young, she made mistakes, she was all repented and wants society to accept her again… I think it’s only fair that she’s given a second chance. She has been punished enough.”

Begum, aged 24 years old, lost her appeal to have her British citizenship restored in the Court of Appeal on Friday after leaving her family and two companions behind to live under the terror group in 2015. According to polls, that up to 8 in 10 Britons were in favor of the move to abolish it in 2019.

Bisher says: “I think the Government wants to make an example of people without taking into consideration their age… how they were influenced, her background, why she was influenced, what was lacking in her life.”

Heather Casson, 23, and Darcey Houston, 24, told a similar tale at one of the independent coffee shops in Bethnal Green, believing that a larger racist agenda was at work.

“It’s disgusting how she was treated, no young girl naturally would be put through that, and if it was someone who was white it would have been a completely different story,” says Ms Houston. “I think it really reinforces and shows that we’re not welcoming people.”

Ms Casson adds: “It indicates that the public just didn’t see her as British even though she was born and raised here. Because of her religion and race she was never going to be seen as British.”

With 40% of the population being Muslim, Tower Hamlets is the local authority with the highest percentage of Muslims. It is also a bastion of Labour. Begum made a grave error, even though many still want her back.

Arriving at the mosque, Jim Ahmed, a sixty-year-old boxing coach, maintains that “she was old enough to know between right and wrong.”

“Why would you want to go to fight against a country that gave her citizenship? She had everything then these a—holes, Isis, come in and p— on her brain and she’s gone over there to what, to what, to learn how to blow us [up], innocent people?” he says.

“I don’t have any sympathy for her,” he says, but she “deserves a second chance” if she repents.

Glenda Adams, a 78-year-old neighbor and recently retired nurse, had just returned from her Christian church, where the differences in the community were evident. She stated, “The English really don’t want her back.”

“But maybe she’s changed, do people change? Send her back if she’s not.”

Imperial Hospital Sylhet

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Daily Dazzling Dawn is the first and only international and non-profitable newspaper, which is 100% ownership of professional journalists from Bangladeshi origin with 20 years of experience in global journalism. The main aim of the newspaper is promoting ethical journalism with truth, accuracy and proficiency.

Editor in Chief

Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury

Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury is the Editor of The Daily Dazzling Dawn. Previously, he has been serving in important positions in all the famous national dailies of the Bangladesh since the nineties. He has played a commendable role in journalism by participating in various events at the national and international levels. United Nations Conference, World Climate Conference, SAARC Summit are notable among them.

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