Alabama Media Group, Birmingham
In a tweet Wednesday, President trump has instructed his Secretary of State to deny Hoda Muthana entry back into the U.S.
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
A Hoover woman who traveled to Syria and joined ISIS wants to come back home, according to a recent interview.
In an interview with The Guardian released Monday morning, Hoda Muthana said she “deeply regrets” joining the Islamic State.
“I don’t know, I thought I was doing things correctly for the sake of God,” she said in the recorded interview. “And when I came here and saw everything with my own eyes I realized I’ve made a big mistake.”
According to a report from The Guardian, Muthana was captured by Kurdish forces after fleeing the last area of land controlled by ISIS and is currently in a refugee camp in northern Syria. She has an 18-month-old son, the report said.
Muthana said in the recorded interview she “ruined [her] future and [her] son’s future.” She also told the news outlet she and other recruits joined ISIS because they were “ignorant” and “brainwashed.”
According to a report from USA Today, Muthana was married three times in Syria. Her first two husbands died fighting for ISIS, and she is believed to be the only American woman inside the al-Hawl refugee camp. Her current legal status is not clear, the report said, and immigration officials have not commented about her case.
In November 2014, Muthana abandoned her family and fled to Syria to join the radical Islamic group. She was quiet and reserved in the halls of Hoover High School, a former classmate said. She graduated in 2013, and briefly attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham before leaving the country.
Muthana told her family she was traveling to Atlanta for a school trip. Instead, inspired by Islamic State radicals she had met online, Muthana left Atlanta on her way to Turkey before going to Syria. When she arrived, Muthana became a recruiter for ISIS on Twitter.
Muthana, whose family is Muslim but does not agree with the extreme views of ISIS, began delving more into jihadist interpretations of Islam that she found on the Internet after she graduated from Hoover High School and started college at UAB, according to an article published on BuzzFeed.
A family spokesperson, Hassan Shibly spoke in 2015 at the mosque where the Muthana family attends after the woman fled. He said the family was “extremely traumatized” for months and has been in contact with law enforcement and government officials since she disappeared while also pleading with their daughter to return home.
“For them this is worse than losing the life of a child, to have them join such a horrible, horrible gang of violent extremists,” Shibly said. “Nothing can describe the pain they are facing.”
Shibly is an attorney and chief executive director for the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. He said the family isn’t sure when Muthana made contact with ISIS militants, she withdrew from the Muslim community in Birmingham more than a year before her disappearance.
“The reason she withdrew from the community is because the Muslim community is very vocal against groups like ISIS … she made the decision based on her communication online with them that she wanted to join them,” Shibly said.
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