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21 February 2019, 12:45 | Tara Lloyd
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Shamima Begum - the teenager who left the United Kingdom to join the Islamic State group in Syria - has given birth, her family have been told.
It would have been illegal under global law to make the 19-year-old stateless, but British authorities have found a loophole: She is of Bangladeshi heritage and is entitled to dual citizenship because her mother holds a Bangladeshi passport, though the 19-year-old says she has never been to the country, the BBC reports.
"Please find enclosed papers that relate to a decision taken by the Home Secretary, to deprive your daughter, Shamima Begum, of her British citizenship", it read.
Lord Carlile, former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said Ms Begum could challenge the decision, and described it as a "complex issue" that could take a while to resolve.
Ms Begum was 15 when she ran away from her home in London's Bethnal Green, part of a group of schoolgirls from the neighbourhood who went to Syria to marry IS fighters.
Amal De Chickera, the co-director of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, said the baby's citizenship "was also under a cloud", saying this was "an additional concern".
"She is a British citizen by birth and has never applied for dual nationality with Bangladesh", the Bangledeshi foreign ministry said in a statement.
Under the 1981 British Nationality Act, a person can be deprived of their citizenship if the home secretary is satisfied it would be "conducive to the public good" and they would not become stateless as a result.
The interior ministry reportedly believes that she is entitled to claim citizenship in the south Asian country. "I assure this house the majority have been assessed to pose no or a low-security status", he said.
After being found while heavily pregnant in Syria's al-Hawl refugee camp last week, Shamima told ITV reporters that she did not regret joining the caliphate.
Questions have been raised over whether Britain would be able to prevent Ms Begum's eventual return to the UK.
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Ms Begum left east London, with two school friends, in February 2015, creating global headlines.
She told the broadcaster: "I'm a 19-year-old girl with a new born baby".
Last week, she declared that she wanted to come home with her son.
Mohammed T Akunjee, a lawyer representing Begum's family, said on Twitter the family was "very disappointed" by the move. I never encouraged people to come to Syria.
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