Hoda Muthana, 24, is alleged to have been a prominent online agitator for ISIS, marrying three members of the terrorist organization after she traveled to Syria in 2014.
Tracked down by media in a refugee camp a few days ago, now with an 18-month-old son, she expressed her wish to return to the United States, stirring controversy.
On Feb. 20 the United States said she won’t be allowed back into the country.
A civil complaint filed by her father Ahmed Ali Muthana on Feb. 21, claims that his daughter’s right to citizenship cannot be unilaterally revoked—citizenship that does not exist, according to an earlier statement by Mike Pompeo.
“Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States. 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,” Pompeo said in a statement.
President Trump later stated he had instructed Pompeo to block her return.
With ISIS territory squeezed to its final dregs by U.S.-led forces in the last couple of months, interest has grown in the so-called ISIS brides who traveled from the West and are now accumulating in the refugee camps in Syria as the caliphate shrinks to nothing.
The British home secretary recently announced he had revoked the citizenship of a Shemima Begum, who traveled to Syria as a schoolgirl, aged just 15, from her home in London to join the so-called caliphate. She gave birth in the last few days in a Kurdish refugee camp, after sparking controversy with a number of interviews.
Her family, too, has challenged the government’s decision.
Interviews in the Refugee Camp
According to the Guardian, Hoda Muthana was the only woman to travel from America out of the estimated 1,500 people in the same camp (estimated to hold nearly 40,000) who traveled from Western nations, predominantly Europe.
She left the country in 2014 to join ISIS, the Islamist terrorist group.
She later called for Muslims who live in the United States to launch terror attacks. In one missive posted on Twitter in 2015, she wrote: “Go on drive-bys and spill all of their blood, or rent a big truck and drive all over them. Veterans, Patriot, Memorial etc. Day parades … go on drive by’s + spill all of their blood or rent a big truck n drive all over them. Kill them.”
Muthana married an Australian jihadi extremist who died in battle. she then before married a Tunisian ISIS terrorist who also died in battle. It’s not clear if her third husband, a Syrian jihadi, is still alive.
She has expressed regret for her actions in media interviews, in which she said she was brainwashed and said she is willing to face the legal consequences.
‘Success Will Likely Result in Prosecution’
Her father is being represented by the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America (CLCMA), funded by the Muslim Legal Fund of America.
In a statement, they said, “All parties involved, including Ms. Muthana, recognize that success in this lawsuit will likely result in Ms. Muthana’s prosecution on allegations of material support of terrorism for her actions while Syria. Ms. Muthana has publicly acknowledged her actions and accepted full responsibility for those actions.”
The lawsuit is a civil suit that names President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr.
The lawsuit seeks “declaratory relief recognizing her U.S. Citizenship, and injunctive relief requiring the United States to made good faith efforts to return her and her young son.”
“Citizenship is a core right under the Constitution, once recognized should not be able to be unilaterally revoked,” said the statement.
In an earlier interview, Pompeo told FOX Business “this is a woman who has inflicted enormous risk on American soldiers and American citizens. She’s a terrorist.”
One of the attorneys for the case, Charles Swift, is best known for winning the Supreme Court case in 2006 that ruled the Bush administration did not have the authority to set up the military commissions to try terrorist suspects in Guantanamo Bay.
ISIS’s once-sprawling “caliphate” that stretched over much of Syria and Iraq, is now confined to Baghouz, a town in eastern Syria.
On Feb. 20, ISIS looked close to defeat in its last enclave in eastern Syria as civilians poured out, and the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said the remaining jihadi wanted to fight to the death, Reuters noted.
More than 2,000 civilians left the village of Baghouz in a convoy of dozens of trucks. Coalition warplanes could be seen overhead, and the sounds of intermittent gunbattles could be heard from the area, which is completely surrounded by the SDF.
“The terrorists are entrenched inside, still betting on ending it militarily,” said Mustafa Bali, head of the SDF media office. “Our forces said from the start that they have two options: unconditional surrender or for the battle to continue until its end.”
Reuters contributed to this report.