One of the world’s top Muslim leaders has called on Muslim countries to “adopt” Islamic State bride Shamima Begum following the cancellation of her British citizenship.
His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, said: “She claims herself to be Muslim so then a Muslim country should show sympathy to her.
“If the British government has stripped her of her nationality, then another country should adopt her, any Muslim country.”
He also put pressure on Bangladesh, which has so far refused to grant the 19-year-old a home, saying: “Since her parents were from Bangladesh, the first duty is of Bangladesh to take her as a national.”
Shamima Begum went to Syria to join Islamic State as a 15-year-old schoolgirl and married a Dutch fighter shortly after her arrival.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid stripped her of her British citizenship, leaving her stateless pending any appeal, and living in a refugee camp in Syria.
Her infant son, named Jarrah, died on Friday – two days after being taken to hospital with breathing difficulties.
The leader said it was only right for her to face trial, should she be allowed to return to the UK.
He told Sky News: “When this issue started I said at the time I thought she should be allowed to come to this country [the UK] for the sake of the child and the woman should face trial.
“Unfortunately it is said the child has expired now and it is up to the government now since they have cancelled the passport and citizenship.”
He refused to cast blame on Mr Javid, who has been accused of not doing enough to prevent the death of the infant.
He said: “I don’t want to blame anyone – what was her fate has happened. It is up to the fate of God.”
Asked by Sky News whether Shamima Begum is a poor reflection on Muslims, he said: “Islam never says you should commit such brutalities which is being done by Daesh [IS]… if she says she is Muslim then she is – but she is not practising Islam.”
The Muslim leader made the comments ahead of his keynote speech at the International Peace Symposium at south London’s Baitul Futuh Mosque, one of Europe’s biggest mosques.
Human rights lawyer and spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya UK Muslim community Khalil Yousuf told Sky News that the government should have acted with more compassion.
He said: “The reality is the child was a British citizen.
“Mr Javid’s decision appears to be a populist decision.
“It is tragic that another innocent child has lost its life and every humane person will feel sympathy for that child.
“Our position has always been that if Shamima Begum has broken laws, she should be brought before the courts here.
“Because she had a child, the British government should have been more humanitarian in their approach… we are a democratic country with laws and regulations.”
Mr Javid was widely criticised by politicians, charity representatives and others on Saturday.
Speaking to Sky News, Dal Babu, a friend of Shamima Begum’s family and former chief superintendent with the Metropolitan Police, said: “The death is a tragic thing and I think it’s totally avoidable.”
“We failed Shamima in making sure we were able to safeguard her from the vile organisation of Islamic State and I don’t think anybody I know supports Islamic State so for her to support that organisation, go out there, leave a safe country shows how she was brainwashed,” he added.
“So we’ve failed her and now we’ve failed the child.”
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott joined the criticism, saying: “The tragic death of Shamima Begum’s baby, Jarrah, is a stain on the conscience of this government… the home secretary failed this British child and he has a lot to answer for.”
However, Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom, who is leader of the House of Commons, defended her colleague, saying: “It is absolutely tragic that a baby has died and of course I understand this is a really terrible problem.
“But on the other hand, the job of the home secretary is to protect all the people in the United Kingdom.
“He will have had advice on what was the right thing to do and I totally support his decision.”
Following news of Jarrah’s death, a UK government spokesman said: “The death of any child is tragic and deeply distressing for the family.
“The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has consistently advised against travel to Syria since April 2011.
“The government will continue to do whatever we can to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and travelling to dangerous conflict zones.”
(c) Sky News 2019: Senior Muslim leader: Muslim country should adopt IS bride Shamima Begum