A federal judge ruled this week that Hoda Muthana, a US-born woman who left the country to join ISIS, is not an American citizen. The result of this ruling on Thursday meant the government has no obligation to facilitate her return or that of her 2-year-old son.
Judge Reggie Walton said there was sufficient evidence that Muthana had been born while her father, who once represented Yemen in the United Nations, still had diplomatic status in the US.
Federal regulations and international law state that children of foreign diplomats born in the US are not subject to the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. This would guarantee birthright citizenship, because they were born under the jurisdiction of another country.
The judge also ruled that Muthana’s father could not provide financial support to his daughter and grandson, who was born in territory under ISIS control and whom he has never met, without being subject to charges of providing material support to terrorism.
After the ruling, Muthana’s lawyer, Christina Jump, said that while they would wait for Walton’s order, she believed that there was “likely a basis” to appeal the case and “pursue any additional options which may be available solely to [her] child.”
Muthana, who is 25, left her home in Alabama in November 2014 and lived under ISIS control until she escaped to a Kurdish refugee camp in late 2018. She has a 2-year-old-son, Adam, from her second marriage to a Tunisian ISIS fighter.
In 2015, Muthana was one of the most militant members of so-called ISIS Twitter. Among her many tweets were messages urging American Muslims to kill citizens in drive-by shootings and vehicular attacks, and calls to assassinate then-president Barack Obama.
Four years later, on Feb. 17, Muthana identified herself as an American citizen and expressed her desire to return home to Alabama with her son, even if it meant facing criminal charges and jail time.
“I was really young and ignorant,” Muthana said in the interview. “I believe that America gives second chances. I want to return, and I’ll never come back to the Middle East. America can take my passport and I wouldn’t mind.”
After much media coverage and many interviews from various news outlets featuring Muthana and her son in the Kurdish-controlled al-Hawl refugee camp in northern Syria, the State Department issued a statement denying that Muthana was a citizen.
“Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a US citizen and will not be admitted into the United States,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a Feb. 20 statement. “She does not have any legal basis, no valid US passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States. We continue to strongly advise all US citizens not to travel to Syria.”
Hours later, President Trump issued a tweet saying, “I have instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and he fully agrees, not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!”
The next day, Muthana’s father filed the lawsuit against the government in federal court on behalf of his daughter and grandson.
Before issuing his verdict, Walton expressed sympathy for Muthana’s father and family.
“Kids do crazy things,” he said. Acknowledging that he was a father himself, he understood that parents “don’t quit loving [their children],” no matter what they do — but he added that those perceptions can’t impact his decision.
In an interview with NBC News published earlier this month, Muthana said she “regrets every single thing’ done by ISIS, which she joined in 2014 after embracing extremist ideology while living with her family in Alabama.
“Anyone that believes in God believes that everyone deserves a second chance, no matter how harmful their sins were,” Muthana said.
Muthana said she fears for her life because she could be targeted by people at the camp who have not renounced ISIS.
“I did not support the beheadings from (IS) from day one, until now I do not support any of their crimes and suicide attacks,” Muthana said.
Written by Rich Stevenson
Credit: Daily Mail