Two more jihadi brides who are being held with their five children in Syrian refugee camps have had their British citizenship revoked, it has been reported. According to The Sunday Times, sisters Reema Iqbal, 30, and Zara, 28, who have five boys between them all under the age of eight, had their UK nationality removed after marrying into a terror cell linked to the murder of western hostages. It reported that the sisters left for Syria in 2013, with their parents believed to be originally from Pakistan.
The Home Office said it did not comment on individual cases, but a spokesman added: ‘Any decisions to deprive individuals of their citizenship are based on all available evidence and not taken lightly.’ Zara was heavily pregnant with her second child when she made the journey and later had a third, the paper said, while Reema has two sons, one of whom was born in Britain. Home Secretary Sajid Javid was condemned on Saturday for stripping Ms Begum of her UK citizenship after it emerged her baby son had died in a Syrian refugee camp. Ms Begum, who fled London to join the terror group aged 15, had begged to return to the UK with her boy, but Mr Javid revoked her passport.
Stripping citizenship is only legal if the individual has a second one, and it was thought she may have a claim in Bangladesh because of her family background, but Bangladeshi officials denied this. Caliph Mirza Masroor Ahmad, who represents tens of millions of Ahmadi Muslims worldwide, urged a Muslim country to ‘show sympathy to her’ following Britain’s move. ‘If the British Government has stripped her of her nationality then another country should adopt her, any Muslim country,’ he told reporters at the Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden, south-west London. It emerged on Friday that Ms Begum, now 19, has lost her third child.
A medical certificate showed he died of pneumonia a day earlier, the BBC reported. Ms Begum had earlier discussed her fears that she could lose the boy, saying: ‘This is really not a place to raise children, this camp.’ Her family, who vowed to appeal against Mr Javid’s decision, had also written to the Conservative minister, pleading with him to allow a safe passage for the boy to come to the UK.
On Saturday, his Labour counterpart, Diane Abbott, said he had ‘behaved shamefully’ over the ‘tragedy that might have been avoided’. Conservative MP Phillip Lee told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he was ‘deeply concerned’ by Mr Javid’s decision, which was ‘driven by a sort of populism’. A 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.’