I'm Not a Monster

I'm Not a Monster

By BBC Radio 5 live

Seeking to separate fact from fiction, the multi award-winning series returns. Josh Baker investigates the divisive story of Shamima Begum.

Episodes

Series 2: 3. Double Agent?

The man who smuggled Shamima Begum to Syria claims he was spying for Canada. What's the truth? And could she and her school friends have been stopped from reaching the Islamic State group? Reporter: Josh Baker Written by: Josh Baker and Joe Kent Producers: Josh Baker, Sara Obeidat and Joe Kent Field producers: Hussam Hammoud Composer: Firas Abou Fakher Theme music: Sam Slater and Gunni Tynes Mix and sound design: Tom Brignell Production coordinator: Janet Staples Series Editor: Jonathan Aspinwall Head of Long Form Audio: Emma Rippon Commissioning Executive: Dylan Haskins ARCHIVE: SKY News: New Footage 'Of British IS Schoolgirls' (March 2015)
25/01/23·37m 51s

Series 2: 2. The Point of No Return

Following Shamima Begum’s route reveals a dangerous Islamic State group smuggling network, but that’s not all. A local taxi firm isn’t what it seems and a gangster threatens to make Josh “disappear.” It all ends in an underground carpark with a stack of secret documents and a warning. Reporter: Josh Baker Written by: Josh Baker and Joe Kent Producers: Josh Baker, Sara Obeidat and Joe Kent Field producers: Hussam Hammoud and Zeynep Bilginsoy Composer: Firas Abou Fakher Theme music: Sam Slater and Gunni Tynes Mix and sound design: Tom Brignell Production coordinator: Janet Staples Series Editor: Jonathan Aspinwall Head of Long Form Audio: Emma Rippon Commissioning Executive: Dylan Haskins This episode contains strong language.
18/01/23·31m 36s

Series 2: 1. It Felt Like a Dream

Three London schoolgirls disappear, heading for war zone. Four years later only one emerges from the ashes of ISIS. Nobody knows what really happened to her. Josh Baker meets Shamima Begum in Syria to begin unpicking her story. Almost eight years earlier, he was filming in Shamima’s local mosque when news broke that she and her friends had gone missing, it made global headlines. He was there when their families came asking for help, but it was all too late; they'd already made it into the hands of the Islamic State group. But how did it all begin? Reporter: Josh Baker Written by: Josh Baker and Joe Kent Producers: Josh Baker, Sara Obeidat and Joe Kent Composer: Firas Abou Fakher Theme music: Sam Slater Mix and sound design: Tom Brignell Production coordinator: Janet Staples Series Editor: Jonathan Aspinwall Head of Long Form Audio: Emma Rippon Commissioning Executive: Dylan Haskins ARCHIVE Good Morning Britain (ITV, September 2021) Sky News: John Sparks interviews Shamima Begum (February 2019)
11/01/23·32m 15s

Introducing… The Shamima Begum Story

Investigating the story of Shamima Begum. At 15, she ran away from her London home with two school friends to join the terror group ISIS in war torn Syria. Now she wants to come back. It’s a tale that has gripped the world, but there are different ways to tell it. Josh Baker has been following the story since 2015 when Shamima Begum left for the Islamic State group. For Series 2 of I’m Not a Monster he investigates what really happened. ARCHIVE: CNN: Three British Girls Run Away to Syria (2015) Sky News: Newspaper Review (13/02/2019) ITV: Good Morning Britain (24/11/2020) Fox News; The Ingraham Angle (20/02/2019) ITV: Good Morning Britain (15/09/2021)
04/01/23·3m 44s

Coming soon... The Shamima Begum Story

Seeking to separate fact from fiction, the multi award-winning series returns to investigate the divisive story of Shamima Begum. When three London school girls went missing in 2015, they generated global headlines and the media storm that ensued continues to this day. Back then, investigative journalist Josh Baker was filming at a mosque in the girls’ neighbourhood as their families came to seek help; their daughters were on the way to Syria to join the Islamic State group. But it was too late, and they disappeared inside the so-called caliphate. For four years, their fate remained a mystery - with only occasional glimpses and sometimes conflicting reports of what they were doing with the terror group being made public. Only one of the girls emerged from the ashes of the so called caliphate - Shamima Begum. The new series takes listeners inside Josh’s attempts to figure out what really happened, unearthing new information about one of the most talked about stories of our time. He travels from Bethnal Green in East London to the depths of what was ISIS controlled Syria as he challenges Shamima Begum and investigates if the story she tells is true.
31/08/22·1m 29s

Series 1: 13. Your questions answered

Since the series ended, so many of you have got in touch wanting to know more. With the help of criminal psychologist Dr Julia Shaw, Josh answers your questions. Presenters: Josh Baker and Dr Julia Shaw (host of the Bad People podcast on BBC Sounds) Mixed by: Tom Brignell Producer: Joe Kent Production Co-ordinator: Janet Staples Editor Emma Rippon “I’m Not a Monster” is a collaboration between BBC Panorama and FRONTLINE (PBS) and is a BBC Long Form Audio production for BBC Sounds.
25/01/22·31m 4s

Series 1: 12. Those we leave behind

In Northern Iraq, Josh finds out how two people you’ve been asking about are doing now. In 2014, the Islamic State group killed thousands of members of the Yazidi religious community and kidnapped and enslaved many, many more. Ayham and Saud were both taken from their families and ended up in Syria where they were eventually bought by Sam and her husband Moussa. Josh first met them just after they’d escaped ISIS with Sam and then made it back to Iraq. Now he returns to hear how they are doing today and what they want for their futures. This episode includes strong language and references to violence. Reporter: Josh Baker Producers: Joe Kent and Max Green Editor: Emma Rippon Sound engineer: Tom Brignell “I’m Not a Monster” is a collaboration between BBC Panorama and FRONTLINE (PBS) and is a BBC Long Form Audio production for BBC Sounds.
18/01/22·25m 44s

Series 1: 11. Epilogue - The wounds and the scars

What happened to the family Josh was staying with when the Islamic State group struck in 2016? I’m Not a Monster began after Josh was injured by an ISIS truck bomb in Mosul, Iraq. If it wasn’t for an old contact reaching out to see how he was doing, he may never have heard about Sam and Matthew. Now he returns to the Iraqi city and finds that while the fighting may be largely over, the people of Iraq are facing a different battle as a mental health crisis has taken hold. This episode includes descriptions of violence and some upsetting moments involving children. Reporter: Josh Baker Producers: Joe Kent and Max Green “I’m Not a Monster” is a collaboration between BBC Panorama and FRONTLINE (PBS) and is a BBC Long Form Audio production for BBC Sounds.
16/11/21·30m 2s

Series 1: Update

Josh is back with news of what to expect next and with a reminder of what we heard in I’m Not A Monster. Reporter: Josh Baker Producers: Joe Kent and Max Green “I’m Not a Monster” is a collaboration between BBC Panorama and FRONTLINE (PBS) and is a BBC Radio Current Affairs production for BBC Sounds.
13/11/21·3m 32s

Series 1: 10. It’s all behind me now

Sam’s son Matthew was just seven when he was taken to Syria and the Islamic State group. He thought he’d never see America again. Now he’s back with his dad and talks of the “sweet relief” of being home. Josh finds out how he and Sam’s other children are doing now. This episode includes references to violence and some upsetting moments involving children. Reporter: Josh Baker Written by: Josh Baker and Joe Kent Producers: Joe Kent and Max Green Production assistant: Lucie Sullivan Composer: Sam Slater Mixed by: Tom Brignell Series Editor: Emma Rippon Commissioning Executive: Dylan Haskins Commissioning Editor: Jason Phipps “I’m Not a Monster” is a collaboration between BBC Panorama and FRONTLINE (PBS) and is a BBC Radio Current Affairs production for BBC Sounds
12/02/21·32m 3s

Series 1: 9. The rest be damned

After years of insisting she’s innocent, Sam pleads guilty and Moussa’s exes reveal more about the man that led her to Syria. Sam’s team claims she was “a wife under the thumb of her violently abusive and radical husband” but the prosecution says she has “credibility issues” and tells stories that serve her personally. So how long will she spend in prison? This episodes contains some upsetting moments involving children. If you know something that you think might help the investigation please email notamonster@bbc.com Reporter: Josh Baker Written by: Josh Baker and Joe Kent Producers: Joe Kent and Max Green Production assistant: Lucie Sullivan Composer: Sam Slater Mixed by: Tom Brignell Series Editor: Emma Rippon Commissioning Executive: Dylan Haskins Commissioning Editor: Jason Phipps ARCHIVE: ABC News: President Donald Trump declares national emergency to address coronavirus outbreak “I’m Not a Monster” is a collaboration between BBC Panorama and FRONTLINE (PBS) and is a BBC Radio Current Affairs production for BBC Sounds.
01/02/21·33m 32s

Series 1: 8. I take my book back

Josh retraces Sam’s steps in Syria and asks could she have been an ISIS supporter all along? He meets her old neighbours in Raqqa, visits the infamous torture prison where she says she was held and meets an Islamic State group member who knew her personally. This episode includes references to violence. Reporter: Josh Baker Written by: Josh Baker and Joe Kent Producers: Joe Kent and Max Green Production assistant: Lucie Sullivan Composer: Sam Slater Mixed by: Tom Brignell Series Editor: Emma Rippon Commissioning Executive: Dylan Haskins Commissioning Editor: Jason Phipps “I’m Not a Monster” is a collaboration between BBC Panorama and FRONTLINE (PBS) and is a BBC Radio Current Affairs production for BBC Sounds.
25/01/21·51m 43s

Series 1: 7. On American soil

As Josh starts to uncover more about the family’s past, Sam tries to explain away some of the many discrepancies in her story. Then, a connection to the FBI raises new questions about her. If you know something that you think might help the investigation please email notamonster@bbc.com Reporter: Josh Baker Written by: Josh Baker and Joe Kent Producers: Joe Kent and Max Green Production assistant: Lucie Sullivan Composer: Sam Slater Mixed by: Tom Brignell Series Editor: Emma Rippon Commissioning Executive: Dylan Haskins Commissioning Editor: Jason Phipps ARCHIVE: ITV News: Filthy and overcrowded': Islamic State families stuck in 'no man's land' CBS News: CBS News goes inside Syrian refugee camp filled with ISIS supporters “I’m Not a Monster” is a collaboration between BBC Panorama and FRONTLINE (PBS) and is a BBC Radio Current Affairs production for BBC Sounds.
18/01/21·39m 24s

Series 1: 6. Now I’m calling the shots

A torture prison, buying slaves and a dramatic escape: Sam continues her account of her years in Raqqa. This episode includes references to sexual abuse, extreme violence and some upsetting moments involving children. Reporter: Josh Baker Written by: Josh Baker and Joe Kent Producers: Joe Kent and Max Green Production assistant: Lucie Sullivan Composer: Sam Slater Mixed by: Rod Farquhar Series Editor: Emma Rippon Commissioning Executive: Dylan Haskins Commissioning Editor: Jason Phipps If you've been affected by any of the issues in this series, please contact support organisations in your own country. For a list of organisations in the UK that can provide support for survivors of sexual abuse, go to bbc.co.uk/actionline “I’m Not a Monster” is a collaboration between BBC Panorama and FRONTLINE (PBS) and is a BBC Radio Current Affairs production for BBC Sounds.
28/12/20·32m 6s

Series 1: 5. We had a great life

Josh is face-to-face with Sam after a year trying to track her down. On a military base in Syria, she begins to tell her side of the story. She says it all started as a family holiday. Reporter: Josh Baker Written by: Josh Baker and Joe Kent Producers: Joe Kent and Max Green Production assistant: Lucie Sullivan Composer: Sam Slater Mixed By: Tom Brignell Series Editor: Emma Rippon Commissioning Executive: Dylan Haskins Commissioning Editor: Jason Phipps “I’m Not a Monster” is a collaboration between BBC Panorama and FRONTLINE (PBS) and is a BBC Radio Current Affairs production for BBC Sounds.
21/12/20·30m 28s

Series 1: 4. She’s like my mother

A young boy in the mountains of Northern Iraq makes Josh question what he knows about Sam. Then ten days searching war-torn Syria lead to an offer of help, but can it be trusted? This episode includes descriptions of violence and some upsetting moments involving children. Reporter: Josh Baker Written by: Josh Baker and Joe Kent Producers: Joe Kent and Max Green Production assistant: Lucie Sullivan Composer: Sam Slater Mixed by: Tom Brignell Series Editor: Emma Rippon Commissioning Executive: Dylan Haskins Commissioning Editor: Jason Phipps ARCHIVE: CBS News: Are Yazidis facing genocide at the hands of ISIS? (August 2014) “I’m Not a Monster” is a collaboration between BBC Panorama and FRONTLINE (PBS) and is a BBC Radio Current Affairs production for BBC Sounds.
14/12/20·28m 44s

Series 1: 3. My name is Yusef

The Islamic State group forces Sam’s son Matthew to spread its propaganda. Josh searches the woods of Idaho looking for a man on an elk hunt. Then an obscure tweet leads him to Syria to try to find the family. If you know something that you think might help the investigation please email notamonster@bbc.com Reporter: Josh Baker Written by: Josh Baker and Joe Kent Producers: Joe Kent and Max Green Production assistant: Lucie Sullivan Composer: Sam Slater Mixed by: Tom Brignell Series Editor: Emma Rippon Commissioning Executive: Dylan Haskins Commissioning Editor: Jason Phipps This episode includes strong language, descriptions of violence and some upsetting moments involving children. ARCHIVE: NBC News: Boy In ISIS Propaganda Video Claims To Be 10-year-old American | TODAY (August 2017) Sky News: Battle for Raqqa: The uneasy alliance fighting IS. Foreign Affairs Editor Sam Kiley reports (2017) France 24: Syria: Islamic state group counter-attacks in Raqqa as fierce fighting rages (2017) Channel 4 News: Battle for Raqqa: is Isis about to be driven out? Lindsey Hilsum reports. (2017) “I’m Not a Monster” is a collaboration between BBC Panorama and FRONTLINE (PBS) and is a BBC Radio Current Affairs production for BBC Sounds.
07/12/20·24m 6s

Series 1: 2. Read between the lines

A man who says he’s a people smuggler offers to help the family, while a drive around a suburb in Indiana reveals their past. Sam’s father adds a new twist on who his daughter really is. This episode includes descriptions of violence and some upsetting moments involving children. Reporter: Josh Baker Written by: Josh Baker and Joe Kent Producers: Joe Kent and Max Green Production assistant: Lucie Sullivan Composer: Sam Slater Mixed by: Tom Brignell Series Editor: Emma Rippon Commissioning Executive: Dylan Haskins Commissioning Editor: Jason Phipps ARCHIVE: Fox News: ISIS uses purported American boy in latest propaganda video (August 2017) NBC News: Boy In ISIS Propaganda Video Claims To Be 10-year-old American | TODAY (August 2017) CBS News: ISIS claims boy in propaganda video is American (August 2017) “I’m Not a Monster” is a collaboration between BBC Panorama and FRONTLINE (PBS) and is a BBC Radio Current Affairs production for BBC Sounds.
30/11/20·31m 1s

Series 1: 1. I love you, I miss you

A suicide bombing in Iraq and a home video from inside the ISIS caliphate begin the search for a family trapped in Syria. A desperate plea arrives from an American woman who says she wants to escape the Islamic State group with her young children. This episode includes descriptions of violence and some upsetting scenes involving children. Reporter: Josh Baker Written by: Josh Baker and Joe Kent Producers: Joe Kent and Max Green Production assistant: Lucie Sullivan Composer: Sam Slater Sound Design and Mix: Tom Brignell Series Editor: Emma Rippon Commissioning Executive: Dylan Haskins Commissioning Editor: Jason Phipps “I’m Not a Monster” is a collaboration between BBC Panorama and FRONTLINE (PBS) and is a BBC Radio Current Affairs production for BBC Sounds.
23/11/20·20m 4s

Introducing... I’m Not A Monster

An American mother living in the heart of the ISIS caliphate. Her husband an ISIS sniper. Her 10-year-old son forced to threaten the U.S. president in a propaganda video shown around the world. She claims she was tricked into taking her young children to war-torn Syria, but where does her account end and the truth begin? Over four years journalist Josh Baker unravels a dangerous story where nothing is as it seems. From the depths of Raqqa’s infamous torture prison to an elk hunt in Idaho, he uncovers secrets, lies and the lasting consequences. “I’m Not A Monster” is the story of one family’s journey from Indiana to the Islamic State group and back. Reporter: Josh Baker Written by: Josh Baker and Joe Kent Producers: Joe Kent and Max Green Production assistant: Lucie Sullivan Composer: Sam Slater Series Editor: Emma Rippon Commissioning Executive: Dylan Haskins Commissioning Editor: Jason Phipps “I’m Not a Monster” is a collaboration between BBC Panorama and FRONTLINE (PBS) for BBC Sounds.
13/11/20·2m 47s
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