The American woman who left Alabama to join ISIS after becoming radicalized online wants to come back to the United States with her infant child, Time reported Tuesday.
Hoda Muthana, a woman from Alabama, left her friends and family at age 19 after becoming radicalized online, turning her back on America as she traveled to Syria and joined ISIS. It was during her time with the terrorist group that Muthana called for attacks against Americans and married two ISIS militants, both of whom are now dead.
Four years later, Muthana, a 24-year-old mother to an 18-month-old son and living in a guarded refugee camp in Syria after escaping from ISIS, is begging to return to the United States, saying she “made a big mistake” and that she is willing to face justice for her actions in a handwritten letter to her legal representative, Hassan Shibly.
“During my years in Syria, I would see and experience a way of life and the terrible effects of war, which changed me,” Muthana wrote in the letter.
Seeing bloodshed up close changed me. Motherhood changed me. Seeing friends, children and the men I married dying changed me. Seeing how different a society could be compared to the beloved America I was born and raised into changed me.
Shibly has stated that Muthana could be a valuable asset to the U.S. intelligence committee, but according to Time, the FBI did not seem to be reciprocative of the idea.
A friend of the Muthana family and leader of the Birmingham Islamic Society, Ashfaq Taufique, claimed that Muthana’s return to America would be a “very positive thing,” serving as a resource illustrating the dangers of becoming radicalized online.
A similar story is unfolding across the pond. According to CNN, another ISIS bride, British teenager Shamima Begum — who left the U.K. and joined ISIS at 15 years old — also wants to return home.
Begum, who gave birth to her child on Sunday, had her request to return to the U.K. denied by the Home Office. The Home Office issued an order to strip Begum of her citizenship, provided that “it would not render the individual stateless.”