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US Woman 'Deeply Regrets' Joining ISIS

Hoda Muthana wants to come back to US 4 years after fleeing Alabama for Turkey, then Syria
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2019 6:52 AM CST
Hoda Muthana wants to return to Alabama from Syria.   (Getty Images/Neydtstock)

(Newser) – Hoda Muthana was recently picked up by Kurdish forces in Syria, along with her toddler son, and is now the only US citizen among about 1,500 foreign women and children in the al-Hawl refugee camp not far from where the last of the Islamic State is said to be hunkered down. Muthana, 24, fled her home in Alabama in late 2014 to join ISIS, flying first to Turkey before settling in Syria, where she got married not once, but three separate times to ISIS fighters, two of whom died fighting. She also became a self-admitted zealot for the extremist group, sending angry, inciting tweets that called for violence. "Terrorize the kuffar [non-Muslims] at home," was one such post, per Al Jazeera.

Now, however, Muthana says she started backing off her extremism in 2016—she claims her Twitter account was usurped by others—and that she now realizes she was "arrogant" and "brainwashed." Muthana relays her experience with the group as "mind-blowing" (she says at one point she was forced to eat grass to survive) and that she "deeply regrets" her choices and hopes to come home. "I believe that America gives second chances," she says. "I'll never come back to the Middle East. America can take my passport." Per USA Today, it's not clear what Muthana's immigration status is. In the same refugee camp as Muthana is British teen Shamima Begum, the 19-year-old who gave birth over the weekend to a baby boy. Her family wants her brought home to the UK for the safety of her and her baby, though Begum reportedly has said she, unlike Muthana, has no regrets about joining ISIS. (Read more ISIS stories.)

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