Hoda Muthana: 5 things you should know.
A 20-year-old Alabama woman who was studying business at a local college and fled from her family and the United States to join ISIS in Syria is hoping to return to America with her 18-month-old son.
Hoda Muthana, the daughter of immigrants, flew to the Middle East in November 2014, according to the Birmingham News. Muthana was identified by the local newspaper after she was interviewed by Buzzfeed in an article that used only her first name. Her distraught father also spoke to the website. Hoda told Buzzfeed in a conversation on Kik:
I started getting interested in my deen (religious life) around 2012. I felt like my life was so bland without it. Life has much more meaning when u know why ur here. … I dressed and behaved more modestly. It helped me with my temper and made me a better person overall. They (her parents) liked the change until they saw me getting ‘jihadi.’ … I literally isolated myself from all my friends and community members the last year I was in America. As I grew closer to my deen, I lost all my friends, I found none in my community that desired to tread the path I was striving for. … People are nice (in Hoover) but they’re all about the dunya (the material world), which I didn’t like.
Muthana’s father, Mohammed, said he spoke to Buzzfeed in hopes it would help other families prevent their children from joining ISIS. He told Buzzfeed, “I want to apologize for what my daughter did.”
Now, Muthana wants to come home to Alabama, where she was a resident and college student before she decided to run away with ISIS. Muthana left Hoover, Alabama, to join the terror group. She now says she fled ISIS and was captured and held by Kurdish troops. As was reported, she said she regrets her choice and while conceding she may have to serve time in prison, she nonetheless wishes to return to her home in Alabama. It’s been reported that Muthana was the sole female American at the al-Hawl refugee camp.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Trump Ordered the Secretary of State to Prohibit Muthana From Returning to the U.S.
I have instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and he fully agrees, not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!170K4:05 PM – Feb 20, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy60.2K people are talking about this
On February 20, President Donald Trump ordered Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to prohibit so-called ISIS bride Hoda Muthana from returning to the U.S.
“I have instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and he fully agrees, not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!”
Pompeo said in a follow-up tweet that Muthana had no passport and was not a citizen. Her family’s attorney told AL.com that she was born in Hackensack, New Jersey and has a passport.
Muthana’s father was a diplomat and shortly after that career ended, his daughter was born in the States in 1994, the lawyer told AL.com.
But he conceded that the matter of citizenship is a “complicated” one: “The Trump administration continues its attempts to wrongfully strip citizens of their citizenship. Hoda Muthana had a valid US passport and is a citizen. She was born in Hackensack, NJ in October 1994, months after her father stopped being a diplomat,” Shibly told AL.com.
Pompeo appeared firm in his position and added a cautionary note in a statement posted to the State Department website.
“Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States. 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.”
Some have noted that Pompeo’s message has made a legal determination sans a transparent process.View image on Twitter
This statement is unusual in a number of ways. It reaches conclusions on a number of legal issues without identifying the facts the secretary relied on to reach them or identifying what process, if any, the State Dept. followed in considering the former Alabama resident’s case.1253:42 PM – Feb 20, 201954 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy
“This statement is unusual in a number of ways. It reaches conclusions on a number of legal issues without identifying the facts the secretary relied on to reach them or identifying what process if any, the State Dept. followed in considering the former Alabama resident’s case.”
2. She Used Her College Money to Flee to Syria
An opposition fighter walks near a vehicle flying a black Jihadist flag with Islamic writing on it proclaiming in Arabic that “There is no God but God and Mohammed is the prophet of God” in the northern rebel-held Syrian city of Raqqa.
Hoda Muthana told Buzzfeed that she took money her father had given her for business classes at the University of Alabama-Birmingham to pay for her flight to Syria. She now lives in the northern city of Raqqa.
“I signed up for classes and withdrew (from) them immediately so I could get a check back,” she told Buzzfeed.
Muthana said she tricked her father into letting her go to Atlanta for a school field trip, but then got on the plane to the Middle East, flying first to Turkey and then traveling into Syria.
She formalized her radical beliefs and was recruited to Syria through social media. Her father told Buzzfeed he believes his daughter was brainwashed, but she denied that.
“Everyone’s parents or family members says that about those who have come here,” Hoda told Buzzfeed. “To that I say, ‘Fear Allah, fear Allah with what you accuse us of.’”
3. Her High School Classmates Say She Was ‘Quiet’ and ‘Kind’
Hoda Muthana graduated from Hoover High School in 2013. Her classmates told the Birmingham News they didn’t see anything that predicted she would join a terrorist group.
“It seems bizarre just because she was so quiet and kind of kept to herself,” Jordan Laporta told the newspaper. “But we’ve kind of learned over the years that sometimes it’s people just like that who are most susceptible to extremist groups.”
Muthana’s family belonged to the Birmingham Islamic Society, but she had withdrawn from the community prior to leaving the country. The Islamic Society said in a statement:
BIS, in support with other national American-Islamic organizations, has unequivocally condemned the heinous acts of this extremist group in the past and continues to do so. BIS, and the local Muslim community, disassociates itself with the actions of this individual and any others who condone the ideology of this un-Islamic outfit that calls itself ‘Islamic State.’
4. An Airstrike Killed Her Husband, an Australian Jihadi & She Was Used in ISIS Propaganda
Suhan Rahman, also known as Abu Jihad al Australi , was killed in March 2015. (Facebook)
Hoda was married to an Australian jihadi, Suhan Rahman (also known as Abu Jihad Al Australi) after moving to Syria. She posted messages on her now-suspended Twitter account and other social media posts about him, saying he was killed in March after a Jordanian air strike.
Muthana used her now-suspended Twitter account, “@ZumarulJannah” under the name “Umm Jihad” to make several anti-American and pro-ISIS posts after moving to Syria. One post included a call for ISIS supporters still in America to carry out a domestic terrorist attack at parades. She wrote on March 19, 2015, “Americans wake up ! Men and women altogether. You have much to do while you live under our greatest enemy, enough of your sleeping !” in one Tweet. In another that same day she said, “Veterans,Patriot,Memorial etc Day parades..go on drive by’s + spill all of their blood or rent a big truck n drive all over them. Kill them.”
She also called for an attack on President Obama. Another post called for supporters to direct message her so they could send her money to help the ISIS fighters. Muthana has claimed she didn’t send the messages or was coerced to do so.
5. Her Parents Moved to the United States From Yemen 20 Years Ago
Hoda’s father, Mohammed, told Buzzfeed that he and his wife immigrated to the United States from Yemen 20 years ago. He said he is a naturalized United States citizen. He told Buzzfeed:
America is my country now. My kids’ country. And if for me as an American citizen, if asked to me to defend this country, I will defend it. I don’t know how to say it, but honestly, it could happen anywhere. In America or outside of America. But there’s really no safe place and positive place to raise your family as here in this country. We have full freedom to participate our religion, go to mosque, do our prayers and listen to scholars and read books and come back to our homes and live free life. This is the best place for family. It’s a dream for everybody, and it’s still a dream, it’s going to be a dream for all of us.
Sources: Heavey News heaveynews.com, AL.com
Heavy news editor Tom Cleary contributed to this report.