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Jihadi bride: UK viewers threaten to boycott BBC over sympathetic documentary on Shamima Begum

Jihadi bride: After creating controversy in India over its documentary on prime Minister Narendra Modi, BBC is now facing protest back home. Viewers in England are fuming over a BBC film on ‘jehadi bride’ Shamima Begum.

Teenager Shamima Begum was living in the United Kingdom when she decided to join the Islamic State in 2015. She was only 15 at the time. Her case caught world attention, especially when she tried to return home after her fantasy about Syria and the terrorist outfit IS came crashing down.

‘The Shamima Begum Story’ brings focus back

Now eight years later, Shamima is 23 and back in headlines. BBC’s documentary ‘The Shamima Begum Story’ has caught everyone’s attention and brought the focus back on the “jihadi bride” .

The 90-minute documentary comes after the BBC’s 10-part podcast ‘I’m Not a Monster’ that ‘retraces’ Begum’s journey, according to a report by The Daily Mail.

Sympathetic depiction of the ‘jihadi bride’

Viewers are fuming over the “sympathetic” depiction of the ‘jihadi bride”. Especially as she is “remorseless” over her joining the IS terror group. The trouble for the British broadcaster on its home soil comes close on the heels of it facing severe backlash in India over a documentary on the 2002 Godhra riots and the role of PM Modi, who was then the chief minister of Gujarat.

Viewers have threatened they would not renew their BBC subscriptions. “What is happening with the BBC? Are you kidding me? Won’t ever pay my TV licence again… She’s a terrorist with no remorse, she doesn’t deserve to have her story heard like she is a victim,” tweeted a viewer.

Shamima Begum and her friends Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, fled the UK and travelled to Syria in February 2015. While the friends are believed to have been killed, Shamima lived under IS rule for more than three years. She came to be known as an “IS bride” because she married a Dutch IS fighter soon after reaching Syria.

Was a UK citizen

Shamima was born in the UK to parents with Bangladeshi roots. But when she fled Britain to join IS, she was stripped of her UK citizenship in 2019 for national security reasons. She has been fighting to return to the UK for the past few years.

The BBC claimed it would provide Begum’s telling of “what really happened” when she became a jihadi bride. The broadcaster described the podcast as a “robust, public interest investigation” by a journalist who had been talking to Shamima for a year.

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