First British Islamic State bride found guilty says she 'regrets everything'

First British Islamic State bride found guilty says she 'regrets everything'
2 min read
16 December, 2021
Tareena Shakil, who travelled to Syria with her one year old child in 2014, says she 'lives with the consequences' of her decision every day.
The former IS bride travelled to Raqqa, previously IS' de facto capital [Getty-file photo]

The first British woman found guilty of travelling to Syria to join the Islamic State group has said she "regrets everything" about her decision.

Tareena Shakil, a former healthcare worker from Birmingham, says she "lives with the consequences" of travelling in October 2014 to Raqqa, which at the time was known as IS' de facto capital, and taking her one-year-old son with her.

Shakil, 32, spent around two and a half months with IS before fleeing to Turkey and returning to the UK, where she was arrested at Heathrow airport and was later tried and jailed for six years in 2016.

"I regret every last thing in terms of my decision to run away to Syria with my child... I remember feeling really sad, really bitter, really taken advantage of and duped," she told the BBC, hoping her story would serve as a warning to others.

Shakil was sentenced to four years in prison for becoming an IS member and to an additional two years for encouraging terror activity on social media, according to the Counter-Terrorism Division of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

The judge said Shakil would be entitled to release on license after the halfway point, however she was released in the summer of 2018 because of the time she served on remand awaiting trial, her relatives told The Mirror.

During her time in Syria, she lived in a house with other women waiting to be married to foreign fighters.

Shakil told the court she realised she had "made a mistake" and "came back of my own free will", as her defence team argued she had been groomed by IS recruiters who exploited her vulnerability.

Unlike Shakil, some women who left the UK for Syria have not been allowed to return.

Shamima Begum, who travelled to Syria after being groomed to marry an IS fighter at the age of 15, was stripped of her British citizenship by the Home Office on national security grounds earlier this year.

Begum, now 22, appeared on ITV's 'Good Morning Britain' from a refugee camp in Syria last September where she asked the British people for forgiveness.