An Alabama woman who moved to Syria to join ISIS in 2014 is now saying she’s willing to serve time in prison if it means she can return to the U.S.
Hoda Muthana, 28, was born in New Jersey but raised in Hoover by a conservative Muslim family.
In a rare interview with The News Moment, Muthana told the press about how the militant Islamist group brainwashed her before she left Alabama in 2014, flew to Turkey and crossed into Syria. There, Islamic State officials detained her in a house for unmarried women and children.
“I’ve always said like if I need to sit in prison and do my time, I will do it,” Muthana said. “I won’t fight against it.”
Muthana has since been married three times to ISIS fighters. While married to her first husband, an Australian jihadist who went by the name of Abu Jihad Al-Australi, tweets on her account emerged encouraging U.S. citizens to travel to territories under ISIS control to support the Islamic State.
Other tweets from her account called for violence, including one over Memorial Day urging Americans to “Go on drive-bys and spill all of their blood … Veterans, patriots.”
Muthana now claims her account was hacked by ISIS supporters who stole her phone to make the posts. Nevertheless, in an interview with ABC News in 2019, she said, “I can’t even believe I thought of that,” in reference to the tweets.
After Al-Australi was killed in Syria in 2015, Muthana married a Tunisian fighter with whom she had a son. Her second husband was killed in 2017, after which she fled to Eastern Syria, where she married a third man.
Currently, Muthana lives in a Syrian detention camp for ISIS widows. She divorced her third husband and hoped to return to the United States with her only son. She even claims she wants to become an activist against extremism.
Muthana has been trying to return to the U.S. for several years, but the Obama administration revoked her citizenship in 2016 due to her father’s alleged status as a Yemeni diplomat when she was born.
Muthana’s attorneys have argued otherwise, suggesting that her father’s diplomat status ended before her birth, but a federal court ruled in 2019 that she did not have American citizenship. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling in 2021, and the Supreme Court declined to appeal the case in 2022.
Muthana may not be the only one in her family who has attempted to join the Islamic Caliphate. Muthana’s sister, Arwa Muthana, and her husband, James Bradley, attempted to travel to the Middle East on a cargo ship in 2021. They were arrested and charged by federal agents who accused them of preparing to fight for ISIS.
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