Towi jihadi, 32, was the first British woman jailed in prison for her escape to ISIS. She claims she was ‘taken advantage off’ and that it is something she regrets.

  • Tareena Shakil fled to Middle East in 2014 and was jailed after returning to UK
  • She said she regretted every thing and would continue to accept the consequences. 
  • Before joining ISIS, she admitted that ISIS had atrocities.

Young mother jailed today for her support of ISIS was the first British woman. She said that she regretted everything and claimed she had been ‘taken advantage’ by online groomers. 

Tareena Shahil was known by the nickname “Towie Jihadi” after it was discovered that she had fled to The Only Way Is Essex as a fan of reality TV programs.

She was jailed after returning to Britain a year later – and remains the only woman in Britain to have been imprisoned for joining Islamic State.

Tareena Shakil was nicknamed the ' Towie jihadi' when it emerged that the fan of reality TV shows such as The Only Way Is Essex had fled to the Middle East in 2014

Tareena Shakil, a nickname for the “Towie jihadi”, was given when it became clear that the reality TV fanatic of The Only Way Is Essex had fled the Middle East in 2014. 

Shakil, 32 years old, spoke out in rare interviews since her release. She had served less of the six year sentence. Shakil also underwent a deradicalization programme.

“I have been taught about the things IS might say, and it has been an interesting journey. I have had many conversations with many people along this path, from mentors and imams to those in prison.

Shakil was 24 when she told her family that her son would go on holiday to the Turkish coast with her. Instead of using her student loans to pay for the trip she went across the border into Syria, heading towards Raqqa. This is where the Islamic State (ISIS) is stronghold.

Shakil from Burton upon Trent in Staffordshire was photographed wearing an ISIS balaclava and posing with an AK-47. Twitter was her platform for encouraging others to fight the battle.

While she previously acknowledged knowing about atrocities perpetrated by the Islamic State, before her departure for Syria she said that she had been trained online to recruiters.

She said, “It’s not something that you are aware of at the moment I am being recruited or at the moment I feel vulnerable.” “That awareness is after, and it was after for me.

“And I recall feeling very sad, bitter, and taken advantage. It made me ashamed that I allowed this to happen.

She said that conversations during ISIS were often recorded and one was expected to act in certain ways.

“There were two unruly girls and the men drove them off in a van. We never saw them again.”

Shakil, (pictured) from Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, was photographed in Syria wearing an Isis balaclava, along with her son, and posing with an AK-47

Shakil from Burton upon Trent in Staffordshire was photographed with an AK-47 and her son.

Shakil maintained that Shakil had been totally deradicalized and is no threat to anyone.

It’s been seven year since I fled, I spent three years inside and three outside prison. I did everything I was required to do, she stated.

“I have built a life that is normal for me – I work, I’ve had nothing terrible happen to me and I don’t intend to change anything except get on with the rest of my life.”

Shakil, now living in Birmingham, had fled Syria to seek asylum and was detained upon touching down at Heathrow after she flew back from Turkey.

At her 2016 trial, she told jurors and police that she was kidnapped by ISIS and made to pose for them. However, Judge Melbourne Inman called her defense ‘lie after lies’. He stated that she had “embraced IS” and was “willing to be a martyr”.

She is believed to have married an IS fighter in Syria. Detectives suspect that the relationship was rocky.

Asked in an earlier interview what she thinks of Isis bride Shamima Begum, who has been stripped of British citizenship and languishes in a Syrian camp, she said: ‘I can’t say, ‘Don’t bring them back’ – that makes me a hypocrite because I’ve been in a very similar situation.

“It’s different because I flee. These people may not have been able to escape for a variety of reasons. It’s not easy to escape from there – it’s life and death, not everybody has it in them.’