Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a statement on Wednesday saying that Hoda Muthana, who has been described as an American woman who left her family in Alabama to join the Islamic State (ISIS), is not a U.S. citizen.
“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,” Pompeo’s statement read.
A report published by British newspaper The Guardian on Sunday asserted that Muthana, 24, was the “only American” among 1,500 people in a refugee camp in northern Syria. After reportedly leaving the U.S. and joining ISIS in 2014, Muthana regularly posted openly anti-American sentiments on Twitter throughout 2015, encouraging her followers to commit acts of violence. She was captured by Kurdish fighters about six weeks ago after she fled ISIS control, saying she regretted her actions.
New: Sec Pompeo says so-called American ISIS bride Hoda Muthana is not a US citizen and has no right to come to US, despite what she and her lawyer have said —> pic.twitter.com/mqHbW0RyXF
— Conor Finnegan (@cjf39) February 20, 2019
“I look back now and I think I was very arrogant. Now I’m worried about my son’s future,” she toldThe Guardian. “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,” she said.
During her time with the extremist militant group, Muthana was married three times and had a son named Adam. At least two of her husbands were killed.
Muthana said she would tell U.S. officials to “please forgive” her for “being so ignorant.”
“I was really young and ignorant and I was 19 when I decided to leave. I believe that America gives second chances,” she said. “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 lawyer, Hassan Shibly, told ABC News that his client regrets joining the extremist organization and now just wants safety for her son. He said that she is ready to pay whatever penalty is required for her actions.
Ashfaq Taufique, who knows Muthana’s family and is president of the Birmingham Islamic Society, told ABC that he recalled the young woman as “gentle” and “smiling.” He said “no one could’ve imagined that she would join a group of that violent nature.”
“To say that I regret my past words, any pain that I caused my family and any concerns I would cause my country would be hard for me to really express properly,” Muthana wrote in a handwritten letter released by her attorney.
President Donald Trump has previously called on European nations to repatriate former ISIS members who are being held in Syria and put them on trial. “The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 Isis fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial,” Trump wrote on Twitter over the weekend.
As for Muthana, with the U.S. denying that she has American citizenship, her fate remains unclear.
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AMERICAN ISIS BRIDE SPEAKS: Hoda Muthana spoke to @ABC about her decision to join ISIS in Syria, her life as an “ISIS bride," and what she thinks about possible consequences as she pleads for a return to the United States. @JamesAALongman reports. https://t.co/w84t8tFhVf pic.twitter.com/tcG5KbsU4J
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) February 20, 2019