The father of a woman who left Alabama in 2014 to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is suing the Trump administration, demanding his daughter be allowed to return to the U.S.
“Ahmed Ali Muthana argues in the suit filed in federal court in Washington that his 24-year-old daughter, Hoda Muthana, is an American citizen by birth and should be allowed to come back to the U.S. with her toddler son,” The Associated Press reported. Ahmed is a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Hoda Muthana is currently in al-Hawl refugee camp in northern Syria with her 18-month-old son, having fled the crumbling Islamic State and surrendered to Kurdish forces.
The Trump administration has said Muthana is not a U.S. citizen because her father was a diplomat from Yemen at the time of her birth.
LATEST: “Hoda Muthana was not born a U.S. citizen and she has never been a U.S. citizen,” the State Dept. says in a statement.
— ABC News (@ABC) February 20, 2019
The family’s attorneys have countered that Ahmed ended his diplomatic service a month before his daughter was born in Hackensack, New Jersey and that she had a valid U.S. passport when she left the country.
The Obama administration determined Hoda was not a citizen and revoked her passport in 2016.
“Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, a person born in the U.S. to an accredited foreign diplomatic officer is not subject to U.S. law and is not automatically considered a U.S. citizen at birth,” the AP reported.
President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr have all been named as defendants in the case, according to USA Today.
“I have instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and he fully agrees, not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!” Trump tweeted Wednesday.
I have instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and he fully agrees, not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2019
Pompeo told Fox Business Network on Thursday, “This is a woman who inflicted enormous risk on American soldiers, on American citizens. She’s a terrorist. She’s not coming back.”
“She’s not a U.S. citizen. She’s not entitled to U.S. citizenship,” he added. “She’s not coming back to our country to pose a threat.”
(The discussion about Muthana begins at 4:25 in the video below:)
— Mornings with Maria (@MorningsMaria) February 21, 2019
Charles Swift — a former Navy commander and the director of the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America, who filed the suit on behalf of the Muthana family — told The Washington Post that the Trump administration is acting in a tyrannical fashion by denying that Hoda is a U.S. citizen.
“When the Constitution ceases to rule, then it’s rule by tyranny,” he said.
The Constitutional Law Center’s complaint says that for native-born or naturalized citizens to lose their nationality, U.S. law requires a “formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state or a political subdivision thereof.”
“ISIS is not and has not been recognized as a state by the United States, or any country,” the document states.
Muthana told NBC News on Friday that she expects to win her lawsuit and be able to return to the U.S. despite the Trump administration’s opposition.
“I know in fact that I was a citizen,” she said. “I prefer America to anywhere else,” adding that if she returns, “Of course, I will be given jail time.”
Muthana withdrew from her studies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2014 and used her refunded tuition money to purchase a plane ticket to Turkey.
From there, she went to Syria where she married an Islamic State fighter. Muthana became one of the terrorist organization’s “most prominent online agitators who took to social media to call for the blood of Americans to be spilled,” according to The Guardian.
Following the death of her first of three husbands, she tweeted, “Americans wake up! Men and women altogether. You have much to do while you live under our greatest enemy, enough of your sleeping! Go on drivebys, and spill all of their blood, or rent a big truck and drive all over them. Veterans, Patriots, Memorial, etc day … Kill them.”
Muthana told the newspaper she now believes she made a “big mistake,” but had been brainwashed four years ago into making the choice she did.
The woman explained that she misunderstood her faith and thought she was following the tenets of Islam by joining the terrorist group.
“We were basically in the time of ignorance … and then became jihadi, if you like to describe it that way,” Muthana said. “I thought I was doing things correctly for the sake of God.”
“I know I’ve ruined my future and my son’s future and I deeply, deeply regret it.”
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