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She Left the US to Join ISIS. Now, a SCOTUS Decision

Supreme Court won't hear appeal of Hoda Muthana, who went to Syria in 2014, wants to come back
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2019 3:28 AM CST
Updated Jan 13, 2022 7:50 AM CST
Judge: Alabama Woman Who Joined ISIS Is Not a Citizen
This undated image provided by attorney Hassan Shibly shows Hoda Muthana, an Alabama woman who left home to join the ISIS after becoming radicalized online.   (Hoda Muthana/Attorney Hassan Shibly via AP)

(Newser) Update: She was born in New Jersey and raised in Alabama, but it looks like Hoda Muthana won't be going back to either anytime soon. On Monday, the US Supreme Court refused, without comment, to hear an appeal from the 27-year-old—who'd left Alabama to join the Islamic State in Syria in 2014 and burned her passport—in her fight for reentry to the US, reports the BBC. Muthana says she joined ISIS because she'd been radicalized online. The Obama administration revoked her passport in 2016, stripping her of US citizenship, and a federal judge in 2019 agreed that was the correct decision, as Muthana's father had been a Yemeni diplomat when she was born in the US, therefore not granting her automatic citizenship. In a lawsuit, her father argued he'd given up his diplomatic status before she was born, though his plea was to no avail. AL.com notes it's not clear where Muthana, who now has a young son, currently is residing. Our original story from 2019 follows:

story continues below

A woman who moved from Alabama to Syria, pledged allegiance to ISIS, and burned her American passport will not be getting a new one. A federal judge ruled Thursday that 25-year-old Hoda Muthana, who's currently in a refugee camp in Syria with her 2-year-old son, is not an American citizen, the Wall Street Journal reports. Judge Reggie Walton of the US District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in the support of the State Department's decision that Muthana should never have been granted US citizenship, despite having been born in New Jersey, because her father was in the US as a Yemeni diplomat when she was born. Her passport was revoked by the Obama administration in 2016.

Muthana, who grew up in Alabama, was detained by Kurdish forces in Syria earlier this year. She says she was "brainwashed" by ISIS members she encountered online, reports the AFP. After she moved to Syria, she married three different foreign fighters, all of whom were killed in combat, and urged the group's supporters worldwide to carry out terrorist acts against non-Muslims. Her lawyers say they plan to look at further options. Muthana says she regrets "every single thing" and is willing to face prosecution if she's allowed to return to the US with her son. "Anyone that believes in God believes that everyone deserves a second chance, no matter how harmful their sins were," she told NBC in a recent interview. (Her family argues that her father's diplomatic service ended before she was born.)

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