Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that an Alabama woman who fled to Syria to join ISIS in 2014 is not a US citizen and, as a result, is not entitled to return to the USA with her 18-month-old son, as she had hoped to do.
"I would say that the situation of American citizens or possible American citizens in Syria is by definition extremely complicated, and we're looking into these cases to better understand the details", said State Department spokesman Robert Palladino in a press briefing on February 19.
According to Pompeo Muthana does not have a USA passport or any legal basis to enter the US and that she will not be admitted into the United States.
Muthana said she would tell USA officials to "please forgive" her for "being so ignorant".
But a lawyer for Muthana - who grew up in Alabama and fled to Syria in 2014 to join ISIS, but is now in a refugee camp, begging to be allowed back into the United States - insisted to The Post that she is indeed a citizen.
Muthana was born to a Yemeni diplomat in the United States but did not receive birthright citizenship, according to the New York Times. Muthana, he said, was born a month after her father was discharged from his position as a United Nations diplomat.
Comparatively few Americans have embraced radical Islam, with the Counter Extremism Project at George Washington University identifying 64 who went to join the ISIS in Syria or Iraq.
The 24-year-old said in an interview with The Guardian that she had been brainwashed online and "deeply regrets" voluntarily joining the movement. Her father sent the government evidence of his nondiplomatic status at the time of his daughter's birth, but did not receive a response.
President Trump recently told the United Kingdom and other European countries to take back and put on trial Islamic State (IS) fighters captured in the final battle against the group.
Fox News White House Correspondent Kevin Corke compiled an informative thread on Muthana and her background.
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That law does not apply in Muthana's case, said Charlie Swift, the director of the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America, who is representing her family.
Shibly, based in Tampa, Florida, said he intends to file a legal challenge to the government's decision to deny her entry to the country.
Shibly said Muthana was brainwashed online before she left Alabama and now could have valuable intelligence for USA forces, but he said the Federal Bureau of Investigation didn't seem interested in retrieving her from the refugee camp where she is living with her son. Her first two husbands, one an Australian jihadist and the other a Tunisian fighter, were killed.
However, Muthana's case is unusual, if not unprecedented in that she once held a US passport.
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, a person born in the U.S.to a foreign diplomatic officer is not subject to US law and is not automatically considered a USA citizen at birth.
Muthana, who dodged sniper fire and roadside bombs to escape, is ready to pay the penalty for her actions but wants freedom and safety for the son, her lawyer said.
Hoda Muthana left Alabama to join IS when she was 19, and this week pleaded with authorities to let her come home. She was captured by Kurdish fighters about six weeks ago after she fled ISIS control, saying she regretted her actions.
Shibly said Muthana was brainwashed online before she left Alabama and now could have valuable intelligence for USA forces.
Muthana says she has not been in contact with U.S. authorities, and her attorney said that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was not particularly interested in rescuing her from the camp in exchange for intelligence that might be useful for American forces.
'I hope America doesn't think I am a threat to them and I hope they accept me.I hope they excuse me because of how young and ignorant I was.