Shamima Begum told the BBC she never considered stopping her journey to join ISIS

Shamima Begum has admitted she never considered turning back as she traveled 700 miles across Turkey to join ISIS.

The former London schoolgirl, who was 15 when she made the trip in 2015, tells a new BBC podcast that she could certainly have returned to the UK but decided against it.

When asked by journalist Joshua Baker if she ever thought about reversing her plan to join the death cult, she says, “No, not on the journey.”

When asked if it would have been possible not to enter Syria, she replies: “I think so, yes. But I think I would have been pressured by my friends and the smuggler to keep going. And at that point I was so afraid of being arrested and going to jail.’

Begum also describes the process of crossing the Syrian border as “simple”.

Shamima Begum tells a new episode of a BBC podcast she could certainly have returned to the UK but decided against it

Shamima Begum tells a new episode of a BBC podcast she could certainly have returned to the UK but decided against it

In the second episode of I’m Not a Monster: The Story of Shamima Begum, Baker traces Begum’s story back through Turkey to Syria.

Presenter and local journalist Zeynep Bilginsoy begins at a bus station in Istanbul, where the Londoner and her two friends met a smuggler, allegedly Mohammed Al Rasheed.

She describes her further journey like this: “We were in the carriage for half a day, then we got out, got into a couple of cars and changed seven times before we reached the border.

“At some points we also got separated and wondered what was going on. A lot of adrenaline flowed through us.”

She recalls the moment they reached the border: “Syrian men were waiting for us to help us carry our bags and the smuggler told us to go across the border with them. It was very easy.’

Baker and Bilginsoy track down a taxi she took to travel around Turkey, but the driver refuses to speak to them.

In the second episode of I'm Not a Monster: The Shamima Begum Story, host Joshua Baker traces Begum's story from Turkey to Syria. Pictured: Begum with her friends Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana at the bus station in Istanbul

In the second episode of I’m Not a Monster: The Shamima Begum Story, host Joshua Baker traces Begum’s story from Turkey to Syria. Pictured: Begum with her friends Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana at the bus station in Istanbul

They then try to talk to people smugglers, and in a chilling exchange, a mobster asks the couple for money, and when they ignore his request, he threatens to make them “disappear.”

Baker later receives a secret memo about Mohammed Al Rasheed – the ISIS people smuggler and Canadian spy accused of smuggling Begum and her two friends into Syria – warning to “be careful” because there are “powerful people in could cause embarrassment”.

The BBC has come under fire for giving Begum a 10-part podcast in which she claims she is different than people perceive her to be.

It is understood that the BBC did not pay her any money for her participation in the series.

However, critics claim that the company shouldn’t give her the “oxygen” of publicity, fearing it would allow her to “spin” a “sob story” and use it as a PR opportunity.

Campaign group TaxPayers’ Alliance said in a social media post that BBC royalty money “should not support this shameful PR exercise to further weave the sobbing tale of an Isis bride”.

The BBC has insisted that the series is

The BBC has insisted that the series is “not a platform for Shamima Begum to tell her unchallenged story” but a “robust inquiry into the public interest”.

In 2015, Begum (centre), then 15, Sultana (left), 15, and Abase (right), 16, fled their homes in East London to join ISIS. Her two companions are said to have died there

In 2015, Begum (centre), then 15, Sultana (left), 15, and Abase (right), 16, fled their homes in East London to join ISIS. Her two companions are said to have died there

The BBC said the series was “not a platform for Shamima Begum to tell her unchallenged story” but a “robust investigation of public interest”.

In the opening episode, she claims, “I’m not that person that you think the media takes on, you know, I’m just so much more than ISIS and I’m so much more than anything I’ve been through .’

She also talks about going to Syria to join the terrorist group, saying she packed mint chocolate because you couldn’t find it in that country.

In another passage, Begum says that when people think of Isis, “they think of me because I’ve been brought into the media so many times”. The other two girls who joined her – who also attended Bethnal Green Academy – were Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana.

The podcast examines how Begum got to Syria and what she did when she arrived.

– I’m Not a Monster: The Shamima Begum Story is now available on BBC Sounds

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11648595/Shamima-Begum-tells-BBC-never-considered-stopping-journey-join-ISIS.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Shamima Begum told the BBC she never considered stopping her journey to join ISIS

Emma Colton

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