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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.
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.
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.
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.
Series 1: Update

Series 1: Update

2021-11-1303:321

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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Comments (33)

Kirsty Mac

Shamima should return to Britain. She is our responsibility, she was a child seeing Muslims being treated like scum under asad regime.

Sep 19th
Reply

Joseph Silveira

very interesting podcast.

Apr 3rd
Reply

abiola shadrack

isn't it possible to get some sort of immigration sponsorship for these kids? Australia is like very intolerant. Canada, Scandinavia etc? they really need help especially cos they are minorities

Jan 18th
Reply

Jennifer Kennedy

Fantastic podcast! can be difficult at times to listen to the story but really eye-opening as to what the people went through! highly recommend!

Jan 12th
Reply

Mic Shell

Wow Josh 👏 each and every episode is brilliant.How you managed to keep such an open mind and report as such is just so good. The twist and turns to Sams story really gave food for thought ...with the back ground so intensely investigated and an unsight into all aspects of her story given. The best podcasts I have listened to this year.

Dec 6th
Reply

Tracy Sexton

Very detailed and Josh was a pleasure to listen to.

Dec 5th
Reply

I'm listening

Mustafa is amazing!

Oct 30th
Reply

Chesca

That dad saying what he did, that he didn't feel sorry for Sam but he's glad she's come back to face what she's done. Takes guts to admit that. my heart goes out to him. It'll take a lot to readdress the mindset that Sam's children must now have.

Aug 2nd
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Chesca

My god this is heartbreaking. Poor little Aham. He just wanted a family.

Jul 30th
Reply

Darcy Jennings

Extremely thought provoking 👍❤✌

Jul 12th
Reply

sarragh mc cabe

great podcast. unbelievable

May 31st
Reply

Kirsty Mac

Too much name dropping at the end of every single episode

May 7th
Reply

Sean

Rapping... Baseball.. Hats... Make up.... Seems Sam really had a tough time and is servely traumatised... Daesh Vermin

May 6th
Reply

Sean

There is a special place in Hell for Vermin like Sam daesh Matthew and her spawn of the devil's... Everyone that lost family in NYC on 9/11🇺🇲 will be horrified if daesh Sam and its litter are not charged with terrorism.... Daesh Vermin....

May 6th
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Sean

Best thing that could have happened to This vermin Sam Matthew & her spawn would have been in a Drone strike reduced them to dust... Americans must defend themselves against domestic terrorist deash Scum...

May 6th
Reply

Toni Diane

What kind of straight-out-of-The Handmaid's Tale-bs is this?!?? #thehandmaidstale #imnotamonster #wtf

Apr 25th
Reply

Kais Zakaria

very good work

Apr 19th
Reply

Kirsty Mac

Can anyone recommend podcasts like this and caliphate?

Apr 9th
Reply (1)

Jessica SAULLE

I love the podcast and the neutral lense cast on it. One of the best!

Mar 28th
Reply

Donelle Clarke

Thankyou for this wonderful experience Josh and all who worked on the Podcast. Wonderfully pieced together, beautifully spoken and paced. The background sounds /music were perfect as my ears became so sensitized to the explained environment as if Iwere right there with Josh and any intrusive sound would have been an anathema to my world as I listened. That was 2 mins ago! This is a treasure, a monumental gift to us all, 🙏🧡🙏🧡🙏🌱😊

Feb 14th
Reply
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