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

Matt Saintsing
February 20, 2019 - 3:45 pm

Photo Courtesy of Associated Press


An Alabama woman who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State is not a U.S. citizen and will not be allowed to return to the United States, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday. 

Pompeo said the woman, Hoda Muthana, 24, has no "legal basis" to claim American citizenship. She had previously said joining ISIS and traveling to Syria was a mistake and was seeking ways to leave the war-torn country, with the hopes she would be welcomed back to America. 

"Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States," Pompeo said. 

"She does not have any legal basis, no valid U.S. passport, no right to a passport nor any visa to travel to the United States." 

Hassan Shibly, an attorney for the Muthana family, said the Trump administration's attitude is "complicated" and involves her father. 

"They're claiming her dad was a diplomat when she was born, which, in fact, he wasn't," Shibly told The Associated Press.

Her lawyer claims she was born in Hackensack, New Jersey in 1994. 

While most of the people born on U.S. soil receive birthright citizenship, the same isn't true in every case. 

According to the Immigration and Nationality Act, for example, people born to foreign diplomats are not subject to American laws and do not automatically receive citizenship. 

Muthana joined the Islamic State after being radicalized online but now regrets joining the transnational terrorist organization that's been fighting U.S.-backed forces in Iraq and Syria since 2014. She's currently located in a refugee camp since escaping the group as its last fighters hold out in small pockets in Syria-- the group is mostly decimated. 

Shibly said Muthana is willing to face legal consequences if she's allowed to return to the United States but is asking for the safety of her son who she had with an ISIS fighter she married. 

She married two ISIS men, both were killed in combat. 

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

"During my years in Syria I would see and experience a way of life and the terrible effects of war which changed me," she wrote in a hand-written letter released by her lawyer. 

"To say that I regret my past words, any pain that I caused my family and any concerns I would cause my country would be hard for me to really express properly." 

Muthana could be of intelligence value, according to Shibly, given she's lived under ISIS' brutal reign and was wedded to two of its fighters. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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