Choices have consequences. She has no remorse over her decisions and that includes her agreement with beheadings and terrorist violence. Therefore she remains an enemy of the state and her religion encourages lying. No trust should be extended to her.
– Pastor Greg Young
By Hollie McKay
She married into one of the most brutal terrorist outfits in history, but now Alabama native Hoda Muthana, 24, wants to come home along with the 18-month-son she had with an ISIS husband.
The question is weighing heavily among American legislators, law enforcement and intelligence analysts. What to do with the wives of the ISIS fighters and what threat do they pose to the homeland?
“They should be brought home and charged criminally under terrorism, murder or other applicable laws. At the very least they should be charged with material support to a terrorist group,” Scott Stewart, VP of Tactical Analysis for Stratfor, a leading geopolitical analysis and forecasting firm, told Fox News. “These women should be held responsible for their choices and actions in support of a genocidal death cult.”
Through her attorney, Hassan Shilby, Muthana has pledged her “deep regret” for having been “ignorant and arrogant” when she first fled her home in Hoover, Alabama in 2014 to become a jihadi bride. Shilby also underscored that his client is ready to face any legal consequences and wants to be a voice to stop others from committing the same mistake.
“She is just another victim of these monsters,” Shilby, a lawyer for CAIR Florida who has represented the Muthana family since Hoda left the U.S., told a local Alabama paper this week.
According to The Guardian, Muthana is currently the only American among an estimated 1,500 foreign women and children inside the sprawling al-Hawl displacement camp, which hosts some 39,000 people displaced by the long-running SIS battle in northern Syria.
But accurate figures of exactly how many U.S. citizens have left to join the callous terrorist organization, either as fighters or brides, are hard to come by.
A report released last year by George Washington University’s Program on Extremism estimated that 300 Americans had purportedly joined ISIS and other related insurgent groups in Iraq and Syria at that stage, but it’s not certain exactly how many actually made it into the ranks.
Twelve of those 300 were documented to have returned home. Of those 12, nine were subsequently arrested and remain behind bars. Another two have not been detained, but are known to authorities. The report pointed out that a 12th man returned to the Syrian battlefield for a second time and executed a suicide bombing.
None who have come back has committed an attack on American soil.
“I’m not sure anyone, even the U.S. government, knows for certain. There are dozens of American citizens who are believed to have joined jihadist groups such as the Islamic State and Hyat Tharir al-Sham,” Stewart noted. “However, nobody really knows how many have survived and are still there, other than the handful who have been captured and identified themselves as American citizens.”
The roughly 300 number accounted for about one percent of the overall 30,000 foreign fighters who joined the ISIS ranks in Iraq and Syria, with the vast majority coming from other Middle East countries as well as Europe.
At least 50 additional Americans have been apprehended attempting to leave with the intention to join ISIS, never making it beyond U.S. borders.
Like many of the ISIS foreign wives who faced the perils of being widowed and abandoned, Muthana married multiple times and is believed to have had three ISIS husbands throughout her tenure. She is also known to have been an ISIS recruiter and promoted the “spilling of American blood.”
A U.S-born, 2013 graduate of Hoover High School, Muthana went on, for a short time, to study a business degree at the University of Alabama Birmingham before becoming “inspired” by ISIS radicals she connected with online and subsequently fleeing.
Under the 14th Amendment, according to Stewart, native-born citizens – such as Muthana – cannot have their citizenship revoked against their will, although they can renounce citizenship if desired.