A woman from Alabama that departed from the United States to try and join the Islamic State is still attempting to keep up hope that she can finally return home to the United States, despite the status of her citizenship has been called into question.
28-year-old Hoda Muthana is currently being held prisoner by U.S.-allied Kurdish forces as part of a Syrian detention camp. As part of an interview taken from the camp, Muthana stated that human traffickers brainwashed her by talking ot her on the internet in 2014 and pushed her to join. She claimed that she regrets all of it except her son, whom she explained that she had with one of the fighters from the Islamic State.
“I’ve always said if I need to sit in prison, and do my time, I will do it. I as well am a victim of ISIS,” she explained to The News Movement.
“I’m hoping my government looks at me as someone young at the time and naive,” she expressed, as reported by the Associated Press.
Muthana’s parents officially immigrated from Yemen and she was born in New Jersey before moving down and being raised in Alabama. At the age of twenty, she ditched her home in order to join up with ISIS. She grew up in a very conservative Muslim house and explained to her family she was going to be taking a trip with her school, but instead flew out to Turkey before pivoting and going to Syria.
“[Her parents] didn’t know I was leaving, but they had an idea,” stated Hoda previously during an interview from 2015 held with Buzzfeed News in which she spoke very positively about ISIS. “They’d see news reports about girls who have made it [to Syria] and say things like, ‘Hoda would probably do that.’”
“I believe she’s been brainwashed,” expressed her father back when he had first been questioned about her. “She’s not that kind of girl. They brainwashed her.”
Back in an interview from 2015, she also expressed just how she had lied to her father about needing funds to escape. She pretended to want to leave because she was being pressed hard into a marriage. He stated that he explained to her that she might be pushed into marrying someone when she first got to Syria.
When she made it to Syria, she explained in her recent interview that she was forcibly locked into a house for unmarried women and children.
“We slept in very unsanitary places. I’ve never seen that kind of filthiness in my life, like there was 100 women and twice as much kids, running around, too much noise, filthy beds,” she explained in the new interview.
“It’s like a system that makes you almost go crazy to force yourself to get married because that’s the only way out,” she stated.
Her only choice to get out of the situation was to marry an ISIS fighter, and she married a total of three of them and had her son. The first two husbands died while fighting and she reportedly stated that she ended up getting divorced from the final man.
At the start of 2019, she ran away from one of the camps she was at in Syria and escaped to another prison camp.