The filmmaker, who met Shamima Begum in a Syrian refugee camp, says the former teenage ISIS bride sees herself as a “celebrity” after the recent media attention.
Documentary maker Andrew Drury has traveled to Syria several times to speak with 23-year-old Begum, who he described as a “narcissist” who “sees himself as a victim”. rice field.
Begum, who is now appealing the British government’s decision to strip her of her British citizenship, originally traveled to Syria at the age of 15 to join ISIS.
Earlier this month, the BBC sparked outrage by devoting a 10-episode podcast to a woman accused of sewing a bomber onto her suicide vest while living in an ISIS-held area of the Middle East.
Andrew Drury, pictured with Shamima Begum in a Syrian refugee camp, says he’s a ‘narcissist’
Here in leggings and a white t-shirt, Begum has radically changed her appearance since she was first spotted in Alroy camp in Syria.
Drury said he initially felt sorry for Begum when he first met him, adding that he “felt sorry” for her.
But last week, he was able to see through the character she’s playing for the camera.
The Times quotes him as saying: “She now sees herself as a victim, but she made it clear to me that it was her choice to go. [to Syria] and she went of her own free will
“She’s a narcissist. She wants to be someone. Now she thinks she’s a celebrity. Someone again.
Last July, Mr Drury said Britain had a responsibility to “bring home” British jihadist brides like Begum and their children “a danger that must already be dealt with”.
But he’s since changed his mind, saying in September that he believed Begum was “a manipulative person manipulating the victim card in an attempt to get back to the UK”.
He told The Sun at the time: “After an extensive interview and many strange text messages, I was convinced she was a bitter and twisted character with deep psychological problems. I’m here.”
Drury said he was “devastated” when she told him the deaths of her three children no longer grieved her and “moved on.”
He said this began to change his view of Begum as a victim.
Drury has written a book about his experiences traveling abroad on business, called Trip Hazard, but when he first met her she didn’t mention “human trafficking or grooming.”
He claims he is trying to “create a character” that she can use to return to the UK.
Whether or not she will be returned to the UK will depend on the decision of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, which is investigating her claim that she was unjustly deprived of her citizenship.
Begum claims she became a victim of human trafficking after she and two friends traveled to Syria when she was 15 with the help of spies working for the Canadian intelligence service. increase.
The ISIS bride gave birth to three children after joining ISIS, none of which survived.Photo: Begum with her one-week-old son Jera
While in Syria, she married Jago Riedik, a Dutch Muslim convert eight years her senior.
Four years later, she was found pregnant with her third child in a Syrian refugee camp.
Begum acted as an enforcer of ISIS’ strict Shariah lifestyle and allegedly sewed vests onto the suicide bombers before the attack, although she denies this.
In her first interview after her discovery, she sparked outrage after claiming that “seeing my first severed head in the trash didn’t upset me at all.”
Days later, a legal battle erupted among Begum supporters after then-Home Minister Sajid Habid stripped Begum of his citizenship.
The Home Office says Begum knew what she was getting into when she joined ISIS, but her lawyers allege she was trafficked and sexually exploited.
Tasnime Akunjee, her family’s attorney, told The Times:
“If she had been trafficked within the terms of the Modern Slavery Act and the Home Secretary had not had this in mind, would the decision to deprive her of her citizenship have been valid?”
A Home Office spokesman said: ‘The government’s priority remains to keep the UK safe and secure. It is inappropriate to comment further while the legal process is ongoing.
The BBC sparked outrage earlier this month after she released a podcast series in which she defended her actions.
In a show titled I’m Not A Monster, Begum said:
In the series, she describes it as “easy” to cross the border into Syria and goes with school friends Amira Abase, 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16. He talked about his trip.
It is understood that no money has been paid to her by the BBC for her participation in the series.
Critics, however, argue that companies should not give her the “oxygen” of publicity.
The campaign group, the Taxpayers Union, said in a social media post that the BBC’s receiving fees “should not support this disgraceful PR effort that spins the weeping tales of the brides of ISIS”.
The BBC said the series was “not a platform for Shamima Begum to tell her unsuspecting story” but was “a solid public interest inquiry”.