London: A classmate of Shamima Begum has revealed that she tried to join the Islamic State. A student who studied with Shamima at Bethany Green School in the UK shared with the media her memories of her time with Shamima and the hardships she later faced, including her children.
Shamima, who currently lives in the al-Roj camp in northern Syria, was a devout Muslim, according to her classmate John. The 15-year-old at the time could not explain what was written in white letters on the black flag. He then asks Shamima about it. They explained that this was an Islamic group.
‘Everyone who is part of this group goes to heaven. Shamima and Amira told him that they were trying to create a better country on earth. These were changing very quickly. Both were very attracted to the Islamic sect and they tried to recruit other students. ‘Says John.
‘They started talking about religion and trying to convert people to it. There was a lot of pressure for that. If you do not go to Islam, you will go to hell and you will die. ‘
Shamima and Amira talked about such things with knowledge and maturity, John said, adding that their words often sounded like adult-written screenplays.
The emir even wanted to see the imam, an Islamic teacher who could explain ISIS in more detail.
They told me that if they went to Syria, they would know about IS directly. ‘It’s growing, it’s a big deal. You don’t have to worry about money or anything else, everything is there for you. If you study the religion and uphold the values of Islam, your life will be different, ”Shamima and Amira told their non-Muslim classmates.
John later learned that the group that Shamima and Amira wanted to join was Islamic State and that their flag was in their hands. A few months later, Shamima and Amira left for Syria.
John says that many people, including teachers, asked him about it at that time. But even when he tried to recruit her, he was not told that they would go to Syria.
After they left, the school had more restrictions. Fearing that more children would join IS, strict rule was imposed. Police officers should be informed about each child in the morning. If not, they will call right away and if not, they will go home and find out what is going on. Those were very scary days, says John.
These were restrictions that lasted until graduation. Shamima and others were barred from being named. He threatened to punish them if their names were mentioned. John also says that within a year of the girls going to Syria, the school was renamed Green Spring Academy Shoreditch.