Supreme Court won’t hear appeal of Alabama woman who joined Islamic State, then changed her mind
Published 3:30 pm Tuesday, January 11, 2022
The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear the appeal of a woman who left home in Alabama to join the Islamic State terror group, but then decided she wanted to return to the United States.
The justices declined without comment on Monday to consider the appeal of Hoda Muthana, who was born in New Jersey in October 1994 to a diplomat from Yemen and grew up in Alabama near Birmingham.
Muthana left the U.S. to join the Islamic State in 2014, apparently after becoming radicalized online.
While she was overseas the government determined she was not a U.S. citizen and revoked her passport, citing her father’s status as a diplomat at the time of her birth. Her family sued to enable her return to the United States.
A federal judge ruled in 2019 that the U.S. government correctly determined Muthana wasn’t a U.S. citizen despite her birth in the country. Children of diplomats aren’t entitled to birthright citizenship. The family’s lawyers appealed, arguing that her father’s status as a diplomat assigned to the U.N. had ended before her birth, making her automatically a citizen.
Muthana surrendered to U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces as Islamic State fighters were losing the last of their self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria and going to refugee camps.
Muthana said she regretted her decision to join the group and wanted to return to the U.S. with her toddler child, the son of a man she met while living with the group. The man later died.
Her current whereabouts aren’t clear. Family attorney Christina Jump of the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America did not immediately return an email seeking comment Tuesday.
The decision to revoke her passport was made under former President Barack Obama. The case gained widespread attention as former President Donald Trump tweeted about it, saying he had directed the secretary of state not to allow her back into the country.