TerrorismU.S. will not take back Alabama woman who joined Islamic State

Published 20 February 2019

The United States claims Hoda Muthana does not have a U.S. passport, and has no right to obtain one. A lawyer for her family argued Muthana does have that right because she was born in New Jersey.

The United States will not allow a woman who left the country to join the Islamic State jihadi group in Syria to re-enter the United States, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday.

“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 US passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States,” Pompeo said.

The New York Times reports that Muthana, 24, is in Kurdish custody with her 18-month-old son and says she was brainwashed by IS after she left the state of Alabama in 2014.

A lawyer for Muthana’s family told AP that she was born in New Jersey to Yemini parents in 1994. The United States usually grants automatic citizenship to anyone born in the country, but makes an exception to children who are born to diplomats.

“They’re claiming her dad was a diplomat when she was born, which, in fact, he wasn’t,” said lawyer Hassan Shibly.

After arriving in Syria, Muthana published a picture online which showed four women setting their passports on fire. One of them was a U.S. passport.

During the next few years, she posted messages on social media repeating IS propaganda and called on people to kill Americans.

President Donald Trump has demanded that European countries repatriate their citizens who had joined IS as foreign fighters, or who had joined them as family members. Many of the Europeans are in the detention of Kurdish-Syrian forces.