A woman who went to Syria to join the ISIS terrorist group in Syria in 2014 now says she made a mistake and wants to return to the United States.
Hoda Muthana, then 19, left Alabama to join the ISIS. She later called for Muslims who live in the United States to “spill all of the blood” by launching terror attacks during events on Memorial Day.
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 jihadist, Suhan Rahman, the first of her three husbands. He died in battle. She later married a Tunisian ISIS fighter, who was killed in Mosul. She married her third husband, a Syrian ISIS fighter, last year. It’s not clear if he’s still alive.
Muthana, now 24, claims that she realized she “made a big mistake” by going to Syria, where she married three ISIS fighters and is now asking authorities to let her back into the United States.
The woman was captured by Kurdish forces after fleeing the last area controlled by ISIS after American forces and their allies left the terror group decimated.
Muthana is living in a refugee camp in northern Syria and has an 18-month-old son, she told the Guardian. She admitted she called for terror attacks in the United States but says she’s changed her view of Islam since then.
“We were basically in the time of ignorance […] and then became jihadi, if you like to describe it that way,” she said. “I thought I was doing things correctly for the sake of God.”
She was one of Isis’s most prominent online agitators, calling for the blood of Americans to be spilled. Now, stuck in a miserable camp in north Syria, 24-year-old American Hoda Muthana says she wants to go home. https://t.co/WnEyqH3AwC
— Bethan McKernan (@mck_beth) February 17, 2019
She blamed her home environment for prompting her to leave, saying they wouldn’t let her do everything she wanted to do when she was a teen.
“I look back now and I think I was very arrogant. Now I’m worried about my son’s future. In the end, I didn’t have many friends left, because the more I talked about the oppression of ISIS the more I lost friends. I was brainwashed once and my friends are still brainwashed,” she said.
Western refugees living in the camp said that the other women “are making life hell for us.”
“If you go outside the tent without your burqa, or say something to the management, they beat you or your children up. They threaten to burn your tent,” said Lisa Andersson, a Swedish national.
Muthana said she has not contacted authorities in the United States but that she wants to return to the country.
Moral maze: They traveled to Syria as young women intent on marrying and having children with Islamic State group fighters. Now their husbands are dead or detained and they want to return home https://t.co/jx3y9ktq0p
— Kim Hjelmgaard (@khjelmgaard) February 18, 2019
“I would tell them please forgive me for being so ignorant, and I was really young and ignorant and I was 19 when I decided to leave. I believe that America gives second chances. I want to return and I’ll never come back to the Middle East. America can take my passport and I wouldn’t mind,” she said.
In another post, she wrote: “I’m the most content I have ever been in my life.”
The Program on Extremism at George Washington University said in a report published in 2015 that Muthana was one of 300 Americans using social media websites to recruit for ISIS.
“The spectrum of U.S.-based sympathizers actual involvement with ISIS varies significantly, ranging from those who are merely inspired by its message to those few who reached mid-level leadership positions within the group,” the study’s authors, Lorenzo Vidino and Seamus Hughes, wrote.
Hoda Muthana is a peak Never Tweet. pic.twitter.com/CnNrhuhj5V
— Seamus Hughes (@SeamusHughes) February 17, 2019
Muthana’s online activity was detailed in the report. The researchers noted that she used Twitter to connect with ISIS terrorists before she traveled to Syria, connecting with Aqsa Mahmood, a Scottish 19-year-old who was one of the first Western girls to travel to Syria. Muthana ultimately modeled her secretive flight on Mahmood’s.
One of Muthana’s posts featured images of four burning passports. “Bonfire soon, no need for these anymore,” she wrote.
Hughes reacted to the Guardian interview by noting the discrepancy between Muthana’s post on burning her passports and her new request for entry into the United States.
He also noted several other missives she wrote and compared them to what she’s saying now.
President Donald Trump over the weekend asked European countries to take back the hundreds of ISIS fighters American forces have captured in Syria.
“The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany, and other European allies to take back over 800 Isis fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial,” he said. “The caliphate is ready to fall. The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them.”
The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial. The Caliphate is ready to fall. The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them……..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2019
He added, “The U.S. does not want to watch as these ISIS fighters permeate Europe, which is where they are expected to go. We do so much, and spend so much – Time for others to step up and do the job that they are so capable of doing. We are pulling back after 100 percent Caliphate victory!”
….The U.S. does not want to watch as these ISIS fighters permeate Europe, which is where they are expected to go. We do so much, and spend so much – Time for others to step up and do the job that they are so capable of doing. We are pulling back after 100% Caliphate victory!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2019
A previous version of this article said that Muthana was an American citizen. According to the State Department, she is not an American citizen.