A woman born in the United States who claims she regrets joining ISIS has again appealed to come home from the refugee camp where she lives in Syria with her young son because the life there is hard.
The US government refuses to let 25-year-old Hoda Muthana return to the United States, stating that she is not an American citizen.
Last Saturday, Muthana said in an interview with NBC News that she “regrets every single thing” done by ISIS, which she joined in 2014 after endorsing extremist ideology while living in Alabama with her parents.
“Anyone that believes in God believes that everyone deserves a second chance, no matter how harmful their sins were,” Muthana said.
In late 2014, Muthana left her home in suburban Alabama and resurfaced in Syria where she used social media to advocate violence against the United States. She married three jihadists from ISIS, all of whom died in battle.
She was actively involved in ISIS propaganda according to the Counter Extremism Project. In America, she also encouraged jihadists to “go on drive-bys and spill all their blood.”
Muthana approved of the attack against the Charlie Hebdo magazine’s offices in France in 2015, which killed 12 people.
She now claims “it was an ideology that was really just a phase” and in the NBC interview she declined to discuss those earlier comments.
The interview was conducted at the Al-Roj refugee camp in northeastern Syria, run by Kurdish forces, where Muthana and her 2-year-old son Adam live.
Although Muthana was born in New Jersey, she traveled to Syria with her U.S. passport, the US government argues she should never have been considered a citizen in the first place as she was the daughter of a diplomat serving for the Yemeni government at the time.
Children of foreign diplomats that are based in the U.S. are excluded from the right to citizenship by birthright.
In February, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the young woman is not a citizen and will not be admitted to the country.
She was part of a network of young Muslims that used Twitter to soak up extremist ideas before she fled. She said they had been brainwashed and interpreted what predatory leaders of ISIS had told them.
The Counter Extremism Project at George Washington University has identified 64 Americans who joined ISIS in Syria or Iraq.