'It’s about the Rule of Law and the Constitution,' says lawyer for ISIS bride

Matt Saintsing
February 21, 2019 - 4:54 pm

Photo Courtesy of the Associated Press


The lawyer of an Alabama woman who joined ISIS says she should be allowed to return to the United States to face the legal consequences, a day after the State Department held she would not be permitted to return.

Speaking to Connecting Vets, Hassan Shibly, a lawyer for the Muthana family says “As veterans, you sacrificed your lives, everything at times, to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and that is what this is about."

 “The Rule of Law and the Constitution,” he reinterates.

Hoda Muthana, 24, joined ISIS when she was 20 years old and fled to Syria. It was her first time leaving the United States. She became romantically involved with multiple ISIS men, having a child with one of them. 

Among the accusations is that she encouraged attacks on America. 

But now, the woman regrets being entangled in ISIS’ violent tentacles that brainwashed her online, according to Shibly. 

“Unfortunately she went down a dark path,” adds Shibly, an American citizen born in Syria and a practicing Muslim. “There was a point where she considered her parents, and myself, infidels.”

He says her case is no different than that of John Walker Lindh, a U.S. citizen who was captured in the early days of the war in Afghanistan for fighting beside the Taliban. He was ultimately brought back to the United States and faced a trial, something Shibly says Muthana wants.

“I think Hoda is acknowledging how horrible her mistakes are and is willing to pay the price even behind bars if she has to,” he says. 

“Even when she’s still within (ISIS’) grasp surrounded by many of their supporters still and risking her life to do so, I think that’s a testament to the greatness of our country.” 

So how could a woman born in New Jersey to well-off parents become mixed up with arguably the most violent terrorist organization the world has ever known? It began with the click of a computer mouse.

RELATED PODCAST: Hear the full interview with Hassan Shibly on The CV Report:

As part of an online community she initially thought was benign, Muthana was quickly exposed to radical Jihadism. 

“It’s no different than the manipulation tactics human traffickers and hate groups use to recruit youth online,” says Shibly “They give them a sense of belonging.” 

That sense of fitting in, says Shibly, coupled with wanting to get away from her overly controlling mother was a perfect storm, of which the Islamic State aimed to harness. 

Born in Syria, Sibly is greatly angered Muthana would pledge loyalty to a group destroying the country where he was born, but also believes in the American system and the institutions it represents, including the Rule of Law.

“ISIS is to Islam what the Assad regime is to democracy,” he adds. 

By isolating the would-be recruits from their families, Hasson says the Islamic State can “brainwash” people all over the world until they are firmly in ISIS’ grasp. 

Although Muthana lived a sheltered life due to controlling parents, she also had a streak of arrogance thinking she could square ISIS' interpretations of Islam with what she was taught living as a Muslim in the United States, according to her lawyer. 

RELATED: State Dept: 'ISIS' Bride from Alabama will not be returning to the US

Still, Shibly does not blur the lines of what Muthana did, calling the decisions she made mistakes, war crimes, or unforgivable. It’s wrong, he says. 

“But I think it’s far worse when someone doesn’t awaken from the spell, and I think it’s a testament to America and a testament to the evil of ISIS and their failure that they were not able to permanently brainwash that citizen of ours,” says Shibly. 

Then there’s the question of her legal status. 

Shibly says Muthana desperately wants to turn herself in to American authorities, and that the administration is “hypocritical” given they had the chance to talk to her in Syria, but chose not to. 

Instead, they are denying her what Shibly says is her birthright: American citizenship. 

RELATED: Alabama woman who joined Islamic State seeks return to US

He notes several news outlets were able to visit her, but U.S. intelligence declined. 

Additionally, Shibly says the government’s claim that she’s not a citizen is wrong given Muthana was born on U.S. soil in October 1994, and her father gave up diplomatic immunity before she was born. 

“What (the administration) is saying is the United States has no jurisdiction over her, which gives her a free pass not to hold her accountable,” he adds. 

“That’s what she’s demanding.” 

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