British ISIS brides may have had hundreds of children in Iraq and Syria
Hundreds of children may have been born to British citizens fighting for Islamic State, Sajid Javid revealed.
The Home Secretary said about 900 British people had left the UK to link-up with jihadis in Iraqi and Syrian heartlands – the vast majority joining ISIS.
About 40% had come back, 20% were killed on the battlefields and another 40% are still abroad, he told MPs.
Some of those are desperate to return to Britain from terrorist lairs, including jihadi bride Shamima Begum, who has been stripped of her UK nationality after fleeing her London home to join ISIS.
She has pleaded to be allowed to return so her 10-day old son Jerah, who is British, can benefit from the NHS and grow up in the land she abandoned.
Commons Home Affairs Committee chairwoman Yvette Cooper asked Mr Javid: “Is there any plan for that child – presumably he is in quite a vulnerable situation?”
He said: “Sadly there are probably many hundreds of children that have been born to foreign fighters.
“Nine hundred people have gone out, we don’t have a breakdown between men and women but a significant proportion have been female foreign fighters.
“There are various estimates that some of them may have taken children with them and that many will have had children out there whilst they are in northern Syria and working with Daesh .”
It would be “incredibly” difficult to help because there has been no British consular presence in the war-ravaged country for years, he added.
But if the child could be moved to a country such as Turkey then it was possible he could come to Britain, the Cabinet Minister said.
“In those circumstances I guess it is possible to arrange some sort of help with the consent of the parent,” he admitted.
Defending himself against claims ministers axed Ms Begum’s British citizenship, Mr Javid said the Government was banned from making people stateless.
He refused to comment on her specific case but told the committee he would not have taken away a British person’s citizenship unless they had dual nationality – fuelling claims Shamima is also Bangladeshi.
Campaigners have attacked the Home Secretary for effectively forcing Ms Begum to Bangladesh, triggering claims the UK was exporting terror sympathisers.
But he hit back: “That’s not what we’ve done.
“In these types of cases, first of all the individual themselves has decided to leave the country and join a terrorist organisation and help them to carry out their murder, rape and other disgraceful activities.
“They have gone themselves to a country where they know in advance of going there is no British consular support.”
He added: “We don’t sit there with an intention, ‘Let’s see if we can export this problem, make it someone else’s’”.