An American woman who left Alabama to join ISIS overseas, now wants to return to the US. Hoda Muthana says she was radicalized online and went to Syria to marry an ISIS fighter. But now she says she regrets the move.
But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Wednesday that Muthana will not be allowed in the US.
"Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a US citizen and will not be admitted into the United States. She does not have any legal basis, no valid US passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States. We continue to strongly advise all US citizens not to travel to Syria," Pompeo said.
And President Trump agreed, stating on Twitter, "I have instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and he fully agrees, not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!"
I have instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and he fully agrees, not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2019
While she was there in the middle of ISIS jihadists, Muthana had sent messages of hate on social media, like this one:
"Americans wake up...go on drive byes and spill all of their blood...veterans, patriots, Memorial Day, kill them."
Now, with the caliphate nearly destroyed, she's trapped in a refugee camp with her 18-month-old child that she had with one of the two terrorists she married. Both of her terrorist husbands were reportedly killed in war.
Muthana left the US in late 2014 to join the Islamic jihadist movement – now she's 24. She reportedly fled the group just a few weeks ago as the Islamic State approached total defeat in Iraq and Syria.
Now she says she made the wrong decision to join ISIS. "I thought it was obligatory upon me to go and I went without thinking of the consequences, without thinking twice really," Muthana said. "I regret it and I don't want people to picture me with that kind of mentality."
Asked if she should be held accountable for her actions, Muthana suggested she should get therapy and is willing to speak out against radical Islam. She also says she has valuable intelligence to share with US forces.
"During my years in Syria I would see and experience a way of life and the terrible effects of war which changed me," she wrote in a letter that has been publicized by her family's attorney, Hassan Shibly.
If she were to return to the US she could face jail time.
Meanwhile, other countries are facing similar decisions about what to do with Muslims who joined the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. For example, Syrian Kurdish forces are said to be holding about 50 German jihadist fighters captive, along with a similar number of family members.
US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said Tuesday, "Repatriating these foreign terrorist fighters to their countries of origin, ensuring that they're prosecuted and detained, that's the best solution to preventing them from returning to the battlefield. We view these fighters as a global threat and we seek global cooperation to resolve that threat."