- A federal judge on Thursday ruled that Hoda Muthana, a 25-year-old woman born in New Jersey who joined ISIS in 2014, is not a US citizen.
- Hoda Muthana is currently staying in a refugee camp in Syria with her young son. Her family sued the US government in order to have Muthana and her son recognised as US citizens so they could return home.
- On Thursday, the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that there was sufficient evidence to indicate that Muthana was born while her father held diplomatic status in the US.
- The Department of Justice has said that because Muthana’s father, a former Yemeni diplomat, was under diplomatic protection at the time of her birth, she did not obtain US citizenship by birth.
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A federal judge on Thursday ruled that Hoda Muthana, a 25-year-old woman born in New Jersey who joined ISIS in 2014, is not a US citizen.
Judge Reggie B. Walton of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a lawsuit brought forward by Muthana’s family in the hopes of retrieving her and her 2-year-old son from a refugee camp in Syria.
The lawsuit, filed in February, sought to have Muthana recognised as a US citizen so that she and her son could be returned to the US. Muthana was born in Hackensack, New Jersey, and was living with her family in Birmingham, Alabama, before she made the decision to head to Syria in 2014 to join the Islamic State.
The Department of Justice said in March that Muthana “is not and has never been a US citizen.” The department said in its filing that Muthana’s father was a former Yemeni diplomat at the time of her birth, and was therefore under the diplomatic protection of his home country. For this reason, it said, Muthana did not obtain US citizenship by birth.
Muthana’s lawyer disputed that assertion and showed Insider a letter from the United Nations that he said shows that Muthana’s father’s diplomatic status ended a month before Muthana’s birth. Muthana’s lawyers have said that he was under the impression that Muthana was considered to be a citizen by the US government because she was issued a passport, according to The New York Times.
On Thursday, Walton said there was sufficient evidence indicating that Muthana was born while her father held diplomatic status in the US.
Muthana has faced criticism for her decision to travel to Syria and for promoting ISIS propaganda during her time with the group. According to the Counter Extremism Project, Muthana posted photos on Twitter in 2014 announcing an intention to burn her US passport and called for violent attacks in the US.
She married three ISIS fighters during her time in Syria. Muthana fled the group with her young son during its downfall and was captured by Kurdish forces in January and placed in a refugee camp alongside other ISIS women and children.
Muthana expressed regret for her decisions, telling NBC News in an interview earlier this month that she “regrets every single thing” done by ISIS.
“Anyone that believes in God believes that everyone deserves a second chance, no matter how harmful their sins were,” she said.
In February, President Donald Trump tweeted that he instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to allow Muthana back into the country. Pompeo also issued a statement on the same day stating that Muthana “is not a US citizen and will not be admitted into the United States.”
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