Five years ago, a woman from Alabama left her family and headed to Turkey to join ISIS. Now she is begging to come back to the U.S.
Hoda Muthana, 24, now says she was brainwashed to join ISIS and that is why she sent out a tweet back in 2015 encouraging Americans to kill themselves, Fox News reported.
She said if she could say something to U.S. officials, “I would tell them please forgive me for being so ignorant, and I was really young and ignorant, and I was 19 when I decided to leave. I believe that America gives second chances. I want to return, and I’ll never come back to the Middle East. America can take my passport and I wouldn’t mind.”
Her 2015 tweet read, “Americans wake up! Men and women altogether. You have much to do while you live under our greatest enemy, enough of your sleeping! Go on drivebys, and spill all of their blood, or rent a big truck and drive all over them. Veterans, Patriots, Memorial, etc day … Kill them.”
Muthana was able to escape from ISIS but was arrested by Kurdish forces and placed in a refugee camp in Syria where Kurdish fighter escorts watch her every move. She has remained there for the last four years.
In an interview, Muthana said, “we starved, and we literally ate grass.”
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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refuted the idea that the woman is U.S. citizen at all — a claim made by Muthana’s attorney — and rejected her pleas to return to the U.S., Fox News reported Wednesday.
“Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States,” Pompeo said in a State Department press release. “She does not have any legal basis, no valid U.S. passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States. We continue to strongly advise all U.S. citizens not to travel to Syria.”
It’s not clear what her official citizenship status is. However, she did attend a high school and college in Birmingham, Ala., where she claims is “home.”
Muthana’s family attorney claims she was “brainwashed” over the Internet and then covertly took a plane to Turkey to join ISIS in 2014.
“I thought I was doing things correctly for the sake of God,” she said. She also blames a strict upbringing as part of her reason for fleeing to join ISIS.
“You want to go out with your friends, and I didn’t get any of that. I turned to my religion and went in too hard. I was self-taught and thought whatever I read, it was right,” she said.
Once Muthana joined ISIS, she resided in Raqqa and married at least three jihadists, according to Yellow Hammer News. She has an 18-month-old son from one of her ISIS husbands.
Her first husband, Suhan Rahman, was an Australian jihadist who was killed in Kobanî. Later she married a Tunisian combatant, who is the father to her son. He was killed in Mosul. Then, Muthana had a short marriage with a Syrian rebel.
Muthana said in the interview, “I look back now and I think I was very arrogant. Now I’m worried about my son’s future. In the end I didn’t have many friends left, because the more I talked about the oppression of Isis the more I lost friends. I was brainwashed once, and my friends are still brainwashed.”