'IS teen' not a Bangladeshi citizen: Dhaka | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 21, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:27 AM, February 21, 2019

'IS teen' not a Bangladeshi citizen: Dhaka

She terms revocation of UK citizenship unjust

The radicalised IS teenager Shamima Begum is not a Bangladeshi citizen and there is no question of allowing her to enter the country Bangladesh, the foreign ministry said yesterday.

"She [Shamima] never visited Bangladesh in the past despite her parental lineage. So, there's no question of her being allowed to enter Bangladesh," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Bangladesh expressed deep concern as Shamima has been erroneously identified as a holder of dual citizenship shared with Bangladesh alongside her birthplace, the UK, UNB reports.

"Bangladesh asserts that Shamima Begum is not a Bangladeshi citizen. She's a British citizen by birth and has never applied for dual nationality with Bangladesh."

Bangladesh reiterated her firm commitment to adhere to the policy of zero tolerance against terrorism and violent extremism in all its forms and manifestations.

The statement comes amid reports the UK has revoked the citizenship of Shamima.

Meanwhile, AFP reports that Shamima yesterday said she was shocked by the UK government's decision to revoke her citizenship and was thinking about applying to settle in the Netherlands, the homeland of her husband.

Shamima, who travelled to Syria in 2015 and now wants to return to Britain after giving birth in a refugee camp in Syria last week, said the order was "unjust".

"I am a bit shocked," she told ITV News after learning of the move, which was announced in a letter Tuesday from the British government to her mother in London.

"It's a bit upsetting and frustrating. I feel like it's a bit unjust on me and my son."

She said an "option" could be to apply for citizenship in the Netherlands, where her husband and the father of her newborn child -- an IS fighter believed to be held by Kurdish forces in Syria -- is from and has relatives.

"Maybe I can ask for citizenship in Holland," she added. "If he gets sent back to prison in Holland I can just wait for him while he is in prison."

Her fate has stirred controversy since she along with two friends fled her east London home to join the terror network four years ago when she was 15.

The case highlights a dilemma facing many European countries, divided over whether to allow jihadists and IS sympathisers home to face prosecution or bar them over security concerns as the so-called "caliphate" crumbles.

Britain's Home Office said it would not discuss individual cases when asked about Shamima.

Interior minister Sajid Javid yesterday told lawmakers that revoking citizenship was "a powerful tool" not used lightly.

"But when someone turns their back on (our) fundamental values and supports terror they don't have an automatic right to return to the UK," he said.

However Javid hinted that her newborn son could be treated differently.

"Children should not suffer, so if a parent does lose their British citizenship it does not affect the rights of their child," the minister said.

She gave birth to her third child at the weekend, and appealed to British authorities to show "compassion" by allowing her to raise the baby in Britain -- while expressing no regret over having joined IS.

In the ministry's letter sent to Shamima's mother, it said the teen had the right to appeal the order.

Tasnime Akunjee, a lawyer for her family, said it was disappointed with the move and "considering all legal avenues to challenge this decision".

Shamima, who is of Bangladeshi heritage, was born in Britain, has never had a Bangladeshi passport and is not a dual citizen, according to Akunjee.

The Home Office reportedly believes that she is entitled to claim citizenship in the south Asian country.

Shamima is currently in a refugee camp in northeast Syria where she fled to escape fighting in the east of the country along with hundreds of other people with links to IS.

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