London: Britain's senior-most Indian-origin Cabinet minister, Priti Patel, on Sunday ruled out the prospect of British Islamic State (ISIS) recruit Shamima Begum returning to the UK under her watch as home secretary.
Begum, who was 15-years-old when she secretly fled her home in east London, in 2015 to join the terrorist group is now living in a camp run by Kurdish forces in northern Syria. She has repeatedly begged British authorities to permit her to return, even if that meant imprisonment in a UK jail.
"Our job is to keep our country safe. We don't need people who have done harm and left our country to be part of a death cult and to perpetrate that ideology," Patel told The Sun on Sunday. "We cannot have people who would do us harm allowed to enter our country and that includes this woman," she said, in reference to Begum.
Under British law, a person can have their citizenship revoked but they cannot be made stateless. Patel's predecessor, British Pakistani Sajid Javid, had withdrawn Begum's British citizenship due to her Bangladeshi roots, something she has upheld this week.
Patel also recalled being threatened with a knife by an armed thug on her own doorstep and said the man pulled out his blade when she asked a group of young people smoking on her garden wall to move so she could enter her home.
The alleged incident happened 10 years ago before she became an MP in the Commons. She managed to escape any injury by using her rucksack as a shield before fleeing into her home in Witham, Essex, where she called the police.
The 47-year-old, who is now guarded around the clock due to her position, told the newspaper, "As in many other cases, the incident outside my house was a drug-related. It was a truly shocking experience but one which I know many other people have had to face, sometimes with a less fortunate outcome. Violent crime concerns us all. It invades communities and homes. It can break neighbourhoods and it has such a long-standing, chilling impact and effect."
Her revelation came as she unveiled her plans to enforce tougher jail terms, give police officers greater powers and roll out an extra 10,000 Tasers to tackle violent crime on the country's streets. Patel also wants to turn the National Crime Agency (NCA) into a UK version of the US FBI.
"This is a government that is going to play its part in the fight against crime. And we do that by strengthening and empowering the police," she said. "I want every police officer to know that we are not just going to give them resources but give them protection and the knowledge that I will stand by them," she added.