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U.S. blocks ISIS bride from returning

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 2/21/19, 11:37 am

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he ordered the State Department to bar an Alabama woman who joined Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria from returning to the United States. Hoda Muthana, 24, told The Guardian last week at a refugee camp in northern Syria that she was brainwashed online and regrets joining the group. Muthana left for Syria in 2014, married several ISIS fighters, and now has an 18-month-old son. “I thought I was doing things correctly for the sake of God,” she said.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Wednesday that Muthana has no claim to U.S. citizenship. “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,” he said. Her lawyer, Hassan Shibly, said the Trump administration argues that she didn’t qualify for citizenship at birth because her father was a Yemeni diplomat. But the lawyer said Muthana’s father did not have diplomatic status at the time of her birth in Hackensack, N.J., and she had a valid U.S. passport before she joined ISIS. Muthana’s case highlights the dilemma nations face when citizens leave to support extremist groups.

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Onize Ohikere

Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.

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  • Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Thu, 02/21/2019 01:31 pm

    Two thoughts:

    1.  Legal issues aside, Pres. Trump is right to refuse entry to anyone who did what this woman did.  She proved by her actions that we cannot trust her.  She needs to prove by her actions moving forward that she has repented.  This may take many years, if we permit re-entry at all.

    2.  This is a legal battle worth fighting.

    3.  Nobody "brainwashed" her online.  Something clogged her spiritual filters before "online" became a factor.  There is a lesson in this for all of us.

    Posted: Thu, 02/21/2019 01:53 pm


    I could not agree with you more. You stated this reply perfectly!

    Thank you, 

    Donna Hunter

  • Laura W
    Posted: Thu, 02/21/2019 07:24 pm

    This case is important on principle. If this young woman is legally an American citizen, she needs to be recognized as such, no matter what she's done. Now, I think there are provisions for considering someone to have voluntarily forfeited their American citizenship, which may be what they're relying on here, but if that's the case, they need to be clear about it.

    Here's why: I once had a conversation with an American woman in an airport who confided in me her fears that Trump may at some point try to revoke the American citizenship of minorities in our country. Sure, it sounded a bit far-fetched to me, but I realized that I couldn't reassure her the way I wanted to. I wished I could tell her that that wasn't the sort of thing that Trump would do, but the truth is I just don't know. The best I could tell her was that I was pretty sure the rest of us wouldn't stand for that if he did. Losing citizenship for arbitrary reasons is something that no American should ever have to worry about. If there is a legal basis for why Muthana has lost her citizenship (or never actually had it), that needs to be made crystal clear right away.

  • Big Jim
    Posted: Thu, 02/21/2019 09:32 pm

    " ,,, that Trump may at some point try to revoke the American citizenship of minorities in our country."

    Laura, that is really the stupidest thing I've heard all day (realizing that another person said this and not you). Seriously, people need to turn off MSNBC, Politico or wherever they're getting this nonsense and use their critical thinking skills (if any remain). Although you were unable to assure the woman that wasn't something Trump would do, let me assure both of you that the thought has never entered his mind to do such a thing. Get a grip, people!

  • CaptTee's picture
    Posted: Fri, 02/22/2019 12:19 am

    Laura W. - You are right that "This case is important on principle.", but you are ignoring the more important principles involved here. Joing our enemies is not "without cause".

    The Secretary of State has the legal authority (and Constitutional duty) to cancel the passport of any American citizen who joins the enemies of the United States of America.

    Then the easiest way to get back into the country (other than illegally crossing the Mexican border) is to turn yourself in to a US Military unit or US Embassy and admit that the reason you don't have a pasport is because you committed treason. Then you pleas of ignorance and stupidity might get you a reduced sentence of something other the the death penalty.

  • Laura W
    Posted: Fri, 02/22/2019 09:29 am

    The problem I have with this is that I haven't seen any specific reason given why she is not being treated as a citizen now. I'm not saying there isn't a good reason, but the fact that I don't know what reasoning they're relying on concerns me. They should be able to give a clear and legally sound reason why.

  • McMed
    Posted: Thu, 02/21/2019 10:20 pm

    Bye Felicia! 

  • Vista48
    Posted: Fri, 02/22/2019 08:23 am

    This woman left with the intent to "spill the blood" of Americans. Thank you, Mr. President for standing firm on this. To let her return to the U.S.would be a slap in the face to all of us who have risked or lost our lives defending it. She made her choice, but maybe others can learn from the bitter consequence.