American woman who joined ISIS begs to come back home

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004

American woman who joined ISIS begs to come back home
By Natalie Musumeci
February 18, 2019 | 9:42am | Updated


An American woman :rolleyes: who fled her home in Alabama to join ISIS in Syria now admits she made “a big mistake” and wants to return to her family in the US.

“We were basically in the time of ignorance…and then became jihadi, if you like to describe it that way,” 24-year-old Hoda Muthana told The Guardian in an interview, speaking from al-Hawl refugee camp in northeastern Syria.

Muthana, who was married three times in Syria to Islamic State fighters and lives at the refugee camp with her 18-month-old son, Adam, says she “deeply regrets” joining the terrorist group and claims she was “brainwashed.” :rolleyes:

“I look back now and I think I was very arrogant,” Muthana told the news outlet. “Now I’m worried about my son’s future. 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.”

Muthana left her home in Hoover in 2014 in order to join the terror group.

According to The Guardian, Muthana fled the Syrian village of Susa six weeks ago before being captured by Kurdish forces who transferred her to al-Hawl.


Shamima Begum’s sister holds up her photograph.
Getty Images

Muthana is believed to be the only American among an estimated 1,500 foreign women and children inside the al-Hawl refugee camp of 39,000 people.

Also living at the camp is Shamima Begum, 19, who recently gave birth to a baby boy.

She told a British news outlet in a report published last week that she, too, wants to return to her home in London.

“I was weak,” Begum, who fled the collapse of the terror group’s self-styled caliphate, told The Times of London. “In the end, I just could not endure any more.”

Begum said her two previous children died in the past three months — a daughter, Sarayah, who had become sick, and a son, Jerah, whose death was linked to malnutrition.

She told Sky News in an interview published Monday that “a lot of people should have sympathy for me for everything I have been through.”

“I didn’t know what I was getting into when I left,” she said. “I was hoping that maybe for the sake of me and my child they’d let me come back … Because I can’t live in this camp forever.”

Muthana, who said she has not been in contact with US officials since her capture, is seeking the same outcome.

“I would tell [US officials] please forgive me for being so ignorant, and I was really young and ignorant and I was 19 when I decided to leave,” Muthana told The Guardian.

“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.”

According to the report, Muthana’s first two husbands were killed fighting for ISIS. Her second husband and the father of her son was killed in Mosul.

She described her experience with ISIS as “very mind-blowing.”

“It was like a movie,” Muthana said. “You read one book and think you know everything. I’m really traumatized by my experience. We starved and we literally ate grass.”

Arheel's Uncle

Senior Reporter

Alabama Woman Who Joined IS Hopes to Return From Syria Camp​

January 08, 2023 8:33 PM

In this image taken from video Hoda Muthana talks during an interview in Roj detention camp in Syria where she is being held by U.S.-allied Kurdish forces, Nov. 9, 2022.

In this image taken from video Hoda Muthana talks during an interview in Roj detention camp in Syria where she is being held by U.S.-allied Kurdish forces, Nov. 9, 2022.

Alabama Woman Who Joined IS Hopes to Return From Syria Camp​

January 08, 2023 8:33 PM

ROJ CAMP, Syria —
A woman who ran away from home in Alabama at the age of 20, joined the Islamic State group and had a child with one of its fighters says she still hopes to return to the United States, serve prison time if necessary and advocate against the extremists.
In a rare interview from the Roj detention camp in Syria where she is being held by U.S.-allied Kurdish forces,
Hoda Muthana said she was brainwashed by online traffickers into joining the group in 2014 and regrets everything except her young son, now of preschool age.
"If I need to sit in prison, and do my time, I will do it. ... I won't fight against it," the 28-year-old told U.S.-based outlet The News Movement. "I'm hoping my government looks at me as someone young at the time and naive."
It's a line she's repeated in various media interviews since fleeing from one of the extremist group's last enclaves in Syria in early 2019.
But four years earlier, at the height of the extremists' power, she had voiced enthusiastic support for them on social media and in an interview with BuzzFeed News. IS then ruled a self-declared Islamic caliphate stretching across roughly a third of both Syria and Iraq.
In posts sent from her Twitter account in 2015 she called on Americans to join the group and carry out attacks in the U.S., suggesting drive-by shootings or vehicle rammings, targeting gatherings for national holidays.
FILE - An Iraqi soldier inspects a former train tunnel displaying the the Islamic State group flag, in western Mosul, Iraq, March 1, 2017. The tunnel once served as a training camp for IS fighters.

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In her interview with TNM, Muthana now says her phone was taken from her and that the tweets were sent by IS supporters.
Muthana was born in New Jersey to Yemeni immigrants and once had a U.S. passport. She was raised in a conservative Muslim household in Hoover, Alabama, just outside Birmingham. In 2014, she told her family she was going on a school trip but flew to Turkey and crossed into Syria instead, funding the travel with tuition checks that she had secretly cashed.
The Obama administration canceled her citizenship in 2016, saying her father was an accredited Yemeni diplomat at the time she was born — a rare revocation of birthright citizenship. Her lawyers have disputed that move, arguing that the father's diplomatic accreditation ended before she was born.
The Trump administration maintained that she was not a citizen and barred her from returning, even as it pressed European allies to repatriate their own detained nationals to reduce pressure on the detention camps.
U.S. courts have sided with the government on the question of Muthana's citizenship, and last January the Supreme Court declined to consider her lawsuit seeking re-entry.
That has left her and her son languishing in a detention camp in northern Syria housing thousands of widows of Islamic State fighters and their children.

Some 65,600 suspected Islamic State members and their families — both Syrians and foreign citizens — are held in camps and prisons in northeastern Syria run by U.S.-allied Kurdish groups, according to a Human Rights Watch report released last month.
Women accused of affiliation with IS and their minor children are largely housed in the al-Hol and Roj camps, under what the rights group described as "life threatening conditions." The camp inmates include more than 37,400 foreigners, among them Europeans and North Americans.
Human Rights Watch and other monitors have cited dire living conditions in the camps, including inadequate food, water and medical care, as well as the physical and sexual abuse of inmates by guards and fellow detainees.
Kurdish-led authorities and activists have blamed IS sleeper cells for surging violence within the facilities, including the beheading of two Egyptian girls, aged 11 and 13, in al-Hol camp in November. Turkish airstrikes targeting the Kurdish groups launched that month also hit close to al-Hol. Camp officials alleged that the Turkish strikes were targeting security forces guarding the camp.
FILE - U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces soldiers search for Islamic State militants in Hassakeh, Syria, Jan. 28, 2022.

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"None of the foreigners have been brought before a judicial authority … to determine the necessity and legality of their detention, making their captivity arbitrary and unlawful," Human Rights Watch wrote. "Detention based solely on family ties amounts to collective punishment, a war crime."
Calls to repatriate the detainees were largely ignored in the immediate aftermath of IS' bloody reign, which was marked by massacres, beheadings and other atrocities, many of which were broadcast to the world in graphic films circulated on social media.
But with the passage of time, the pace of repatriations has started to pick up. Human Rights Watch said some 3,100 foreigners — mostly women and children — have been sent home over the past year. Most were Iraqis, who comprise the majority of detainees, but citizens were also repatriated to Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia and the United Kingdom.
The U.S. has repatriated a total of 39 American nationals. It's unclear how many other Americans remain in the camps.
These days, Muthana portrays herself as a victim of the Islamic State.
Speaking with TNM, she describes how, after arriving in Syria in 2014, she was detained in a guest house reserved for unmarried women and children. "I've never seen that kind of filthiness in my life, like there was 100 women and twice as much kids, running around, too much noise, filthy beds," she said.
The only way to escape was to marry a fighter. She eventually married and remarried three times. Her first two husbands, including the father of her son, were killed in battle. She reportedly divorced her third husband.
The extremist group, which is also known as ISIS, no longer controls any territory in Syria or Iraq but continues to carry out sporadic attacks and has supporters in the camps themselves. Muthana says she still has to be careful about what she says because of fear of reprisal.
"Even here, right now, I can't fully say everything I want to say. But once I do leave, I will. I will be an advocate against this," she said. "I wish I can help the victims of ISIS in the West understand that someone like me is not part of it, that I as well am a victim of ISIS."
FILE - Syrian Democratic Forces fighters escort suspected Islamic State militants in Hasakeh, northeast Syria, Jan. 26, 2022. SDF forces said Jan. 6, 2023, that they had arrested more than 100 suspects in an eight-day operation against IS militants.

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Hassan Shibly, an attorney who has assisted Muthana's family, said it is "absolutely clear that she was brainwashed and taken advantage of."
He said her family wishes she could come back, pay her debt to society and then help others from "falling into the dark path that she was led down."
"She was absolutely misguided, and no one is denying that. But again, she was a teenager who was the victim of a very sophisticated recruitment operation that focuses on taking advantage of the young, the vulnerable, the disenfranchised," he said.