I'm proof jihadi brides DO deserve a second chance! Middlesex bank clerk's daughter fled to Syria with her ISIS husband where she was raped and escaped while pregnant - but is now happily married in suburbia (4 Pics)

Shamima Begum’s toneless insistence that she did not regret joining Islamic State drove many to say that she should be barred from Britain.
But as the heavily pregnant schoolgirl spoke, a former jihadi bride now living halfway across the world from the extremist state felt a shiver of recognition.
Tania Joya, a mother-of-four who grew up in Harrow, Middlesex, read the story online from the comfortable apartment in Plano, Texas, where she lives with her second husband, an IT executive.
Although Miss Joya, 35, now insists she is completely rehabilitated, she was once in Begum’s shoes.
She was nicknamed ‘the first lady of ISIS’ after marrying an American Islamic convert who became one of the state’s most senior commanders.
Today, she says she has renounced extremism and, in an interview with the Daily Mail, called for Begum to be given a second chance for the sake of her unborn child – and for a law ‘to protect children from their religion’.
‘Shamima was a child while she was groomed and she is still a child,’ she said. ‘If she is willing to accept her mistakes, she could be rehabilitated. Give Shamima and her baby a chance to live. She will outgrow the brainwashing as I did.’
 Tania was radicalised in east London and married a jihadi. She went to Syria with him but escaped in 2013. She has now turned her back on islam and lives in Dallas, Texas (pictured in 2018)
 Tania Joya with John (her jihadi husband). The pair fled to Syria from the US. Pictured in June 2009 
In comments that place much of the blame on Islam rather than on personal responsibility, she added: ‘I wish there was a law in England that could protect children from their religion.
‘If I had grown up in an agnostic, atheist, or even a Christian or Jewish home, I would not have been exposed to these suppressive ideas of women and how god controls everything – and it is just such a lie.
‘I feel sorry for [Shamima], she is so young, she has been in a toxic environment for all these years where she is not allowed to think anything different from the rest of the group. She is still in that state. She is only 19 and that’s when I radicalised.
‘If we don’t help her, the baby is going to die and it is her fault, 100 per cent her fault. But for humanitarian reasons we help that child. And if she wants help she has got to be willing to change.
‘It makes me really mad that she does not feel any remorse. She has got to be held accountable for her children’s deaths. That is because of her actions, because she went there in the first place.’
For some, it may be hard to understand how Miss Joya, who once said she was ‘thirsty for the Islamic state’ and that her children were born to serve ‘the mujahideen’, has made such a dramatic U-turn.
IS expert Graeme Wood, author of The Way of Strangers: Encounters with Islamic State, claimed that Miss Joya ‘was no victim’ and had passed up a decade of opportunities to leave her husband John Georgelas.
The picture Miss Joya paints is very different – one of a ‘lonely and isolated’ girl bullied at school who turned to extremism at her lowest ebb. Any radical group could have sucked her in, she said.

And of the 150 women and girls who have travelled to Syria as ‘jihadi brides’, she is almost unique in publicly abandoning her beliefs – offering some insight into how or if these women can ever be re-integrated into western life.
Her story begins in Harrow, north-west London, where she was born Joya Choudhury, to ‘culturally Muslim’ Bangladeshi parents like Begum.
Her father Nural Choudhury moved between jobs including bank clerk and accounts assistant, while her mother Jahanara ran a catering business. Miss Joya, one of five children, says she was brought up to believe men were ‘on a pedestal’.
She claims she was radicalised after the family moved to Barking, east London, when she was 17. There she encountered schoolgirls who ‘slut shamed’ her for dressing in Western clothes.
Soon, she was wearing the full veil and being told by a friend to celebrate the bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York. By her own admission, she became ‘a hardcore jihadist’. Miss Joya said: ‘We believed in jihad but the jihad we were thinking of was very rosy pictured.’ Islam had become ‘the solution to everything’.
She joined a Muslim matrimonial website and by February 2003 had met John Georgelas, from Plano near Dallas. He was the son of Colonel Timothy Georgelas and his wife Martha and had spent part of his childhood in Cambridgeshire. They were married within a month in a sharia ceremony that was made official at Rochdale Register Officer in October 2004. Miss Joya had the ‘escape’ she craved, moving with her new husband first to an upmarket suburb where she was overawed by the Georgelas family’s four-bedroom, five-bathroom home with a pool.
 Tania Joya her wedding to Craig Burma in June 2018 in Las Vegas

The couple travelled to England and Syria, initially funded by money from their marriage, then settled in California where Georgelas got a job as a data technician.
He was caught illegally accessing passwords for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, however, and was sentenced to 34 months in jail. He served his sentence, and Miss Joya stuck by him, and again during three years’ further probation in Texas.
By 2011, she had given birth to the couple’s third son and they were free to leave. They moved to Cairo where, according to Mr Wood, Georgelas met other jihadists and was a vocal supporter of ‘pre-IS pro-caliphate voices’.
By 2013, Georgelas was determined to go to Syria and in August took his wife, who was five months pregnant, and three sons over the border to the city of Azaz in north-western Syria.
Miss Joya insists that she was tricked, and in any case did not have a choice because of the control her husband exerted over her – a theme that she says is reflected in the ‘brainwashing’ of Shamima Begum.
‘He controlled me, he owned me,’ she said. ‘He was like my master and I was his slave.
‘If I disobeyed him, I was disobeying god. Any woman who has been in an abusive relationship would understand.’
Locked at home like a ‘house cat’, she was repeatedly raped while her husband courted the Islamic militia. ‘I used to cut myself just to keep him away from me, to stop him having sex with me,’ she said.
From her time in Syria, she remembers a place filled with once luxurious abandoned homes, limited food and no electricity.
She would be heckled for going outside without being fully covered up. ‘Regular Syrian people would be hospitable and friendly, the local Syrians,’ she said. ‘It was the foreign fighters and their wives. They would say, “Mujahideen’s wives to not dress like that”.’
She continued: ‘All I wanted to do was die. I couldn’t kill myself because I had children.
‘I was in such a dark place. John thought it was just me being pathetic and weak.’
At breaking point, Miss Joya told her husband she needed to escape. Tiring of her relentless begging, he agreed to take her and the children to the border.
So pregnant she was ‘leaking amniotic fluid’, she says she ran for the border with her three children, the youngest in a pushchair.
Tania Joya's ex husband and father of her children John Georgelas joined Islamic State (ISIS)
In an extraordinary denouement to her ‘jihadi bride’ escape story, Miss Joya says she came under sniper fire and was forced to put her three boys alone on a stranger’s motorbike to a bus station in Turkey.
Her husband, she says, did not say goodbye. Now 35 and living under the name Yahya al-Bahrumi, he was said to have led the IS propaganda unit. Miss Joya says she no longer knows if he is dead or alive.
From there, she met a contact arranged by her husband, who got them on a plane to Istanbul.
She travelled with the children to London, then to Texas where she moved in with Georgelas’s parents. Today, she shares custody of the four children with them.
She remained in touch with her husband for several years after she had fled Syria, she says, but claims they lost contact in 2015.
Despite this, as recently as last month she was accused of being a ‘dangerous person’ after telling Piers Morgan on ITV’s Good Morning Britain that she still loved him, saying that he had given her ‘four beautiful, lovely children’ and insisting ‘everybody has a good side, everybody has a bad side’. The interview was then cut short with Miss Joya insisting that she is no longer an extremist.
‘I was so annoyed by the way he [Piers] spoke to me that I was not giving him the answers he wanted to hear,’ she said.
Asked now about her former husband, she says she feels anger but adds: ‘It is an unfortunate waste of a human being.’
Her journey in and out of Syria was brief – just three weeks – but she is clear who she believes is to blame for her own radicalisation.
Today, estranged from her British family, Miss Joya is the wife of IT executive Craig Bruma, 49, who answered an advert she placed on dating website match.com stating: ‘I have four kids. My husband abandoned me to go and become the next Osama Bin Laden.’
Twice divorced himself and a father of three sons, he has introduced her to ‘Unitarian Universalism’, which is based in Christianity but advocates a ‘search for spiritual growth’.
Miss Joya said: ‘I think America helped me because I had four children who were American citizens. I actually said to them, if you don’t allow me back into the US, you are not going to have one American terrorist to deal with, you are going to have five. That was my fear.
She now describes herself as an activist.
‘I want to help prevent people from becoming like Shamima,’ she added. ‘People who want to change, people who want to get away from that extremist mindset deserve a second chance.’
I'm proof jihadi brides DO deserve a second chance! Middlesex bank clerk's daughter fled to Syria with her ISIS husband where she was raped and escaped while pregnant - but is now happily married in suburbia (4 Pics) I'm proof jihadi brides DO deserve a second chance! Middlesex bank clerk's daughter fled to Syria with her ISIS husband where she was raped and escaped while pregnant - but is now happily married in suburbia (4 Pics) Reviewed by Your Destination on February 16, 2019 Rating: 5

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