Age when left UK: 15 Home town: London
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Bethnal Green Academy pupils Shamima Begum and Amira Abase, both 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, travelled to Istanbul in February after telling their parents they were going out for the day. Police believe they have crossed the border into Syria. Mobile phone footage released to the media shows this was with the help of a people smuggler who is alleged to have worked for Canadian intelligence. The three girls had been studying for their GCSEs at the school in Tower Hamlets – where they have been described as “straight-A students”. They followed in the footsteps of their school friend, Sharmeena Begum who the Metropolitan Police say left
Three UK schoolgirls ‘travelling to Syria’
FULL STORY: Wives of ISIS
A Woman of ISIS who wants out
The three girls had been questioned by the police in December 2014 after another girl from their school travelled to Syria, but were found not to be at risk. They flew via Turkish Airlines from Gatwick Airport to Istanbul on 17 February. Their families went to Turkey in March to probe the disappearance, deeming the police investigation inadequate.
Their disappearance has been attributed to Aqsa Mahmood, a Glasgow woman who joined ISIL in 2013. There have been electronic communications between the girls and Mahmood. She faces criminal charges if she returns. Mahmood denies the allegations.
In March 2015, footage was circulated of Abase Hussen, father of Amira Abase, on a 2012 rally led by Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary against the film Innocence of Muslims. The Metropolitan Police examined the footage but said that it was unlikely that offences had been committed. Hussen said in April that he feels ashamed of his involvement in the rally, as he did not know who had organised it.
The girls stole family jewellery to pay for their flight. They will not face criminal charges if they return to the United Kingdom.
The disappearance resulted in the Metropolitan Police giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee of the House of Commons on its circumstances in March 2015. The families of the girls received an apology from Scotland Yard, who did not tell them about the other girl from their school who went to Syria in 2014.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has said that police should not be made “scapegoats” for people joining ISIL. Contrary to the stance of the Metropolitan Police, Cameron said “Whoever has gone out to join a terrorist organisation is breaking the law and has to face the consequences of breaking the law and we have to let the law take its course in the proper way”.
In March 2015, a travel ban was imposed upon five girls from the Bethnal Green Academy due to concerns from social services that they would join ISIL. The girls’ identities were kept secret, but the Press Association won a challenge at the High Court to be able to disclose that the girls attend the same school as the three who had already joined the group, stating that it was in the public interest.
According to The Guardian Two of the three east London schoolgirls who fled to join Islamic State in Syria have married men approved for them by the terrorist group, their families have told the Guardian.
Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15, fled in February from Britain after deceiving their parents and siblings.
Two of the teenagers have been allowed to tell their families that they have been married and are living in the war-torn country. One phoned and another used a social media platform to tell the loved ones the news they have been dreading. At the request of their families, the Guardian is not naming the married pair.
Their families are said be be distraught at the news and have been clinging to the hope their daughters would want to come home.
The schoolgirls say that they have been separated and have been living apart for several weeks, in and around Raqqa, Syria – an Isis stronghold.
The two schoolgirls have been living with the men whom they married in a ceremony approved by Isis authorities.
The two schoolgirls are understood to have been given an effective “catalogue” of men deemed suitable by Isis for marriage. They then made their picks from those presented to them. The teenagers who married are believed to have been wed to older men, in their 20s.
Tasnime Akunjee, a solicitor representing the families, said they were grieving at the news of the marriages, as told to them by their daughters: “It has caused a lot of distress. It entrenches their lives in Syria, rather than in Britain. It erodes significantly hopes that they will come back.”
The girls initially lived together in Raqqa. They plotted the trip together, drawing up a shopping list of items to take with them.
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