The dilemma of the ISIS wife: US nationals, even terrorists, can not be prevented from returning, according to experts

She's married to one of the most brutal terrorist groups in history, but now Hoda Muthana, 24, a native of Alabama, wants to go home with her son's 18 months that she had with her husband ISIS.

The question weighs heavily among lawmakers, law enforcement and US intelligence analysts. What do ISIS fighters' wives do and what threat do they pose to their homeland?

"They should be brought home and charged with criminal charges, terrorism, murder or other applicable laws. At the very least, they should be charged with material support to a terrorist group, "Fox News, Scott Stewart, vice president of tactical analysis at Stratfor, a leading analysis and forecast firm, told Fox News. geopolitical. "These women should be held accountable for their choices and actions in favor of a genocidal death cult."

Through her attorney, Hassan Shilby, Muthana promised her "deep regret" for being "ignorant and arrogant" when she fled for the first time her home in Hoover, in Alabama, in 2014, to become a jihadi wife. Shilby also pointed out that his client is ready to face all the legal consequences and wants to be a voice to prevent others from making the same mistake.

"She's just another victim of these monsters," said Shilby this week, CAIR Florida's attorney and representing the Muthana family since Hoda's departure from the United States, in a local Alabama newspaper.


According to The Guardian, Muthana is currently the only American on about 1,500 foreign women and children in Hawl's sprawling IDP camp, which is home to some 39,000 people displaced by the long-running SIS battle in the north of the country. Syria.

But it is difficult to get precise figures on the exact number of remaining US citizens to join the insensitive terrorist organization, whether they are combatants or wives.

According to a report released last year by George Washington University's program on extremism, 300 Americans reportedly joined Isis and other related insurgent groups in Iraq and Syria at this stage, but no not sure exactly how many of them have joined the ranks.

Twelve of these 300 people were documented to have returned home. Of these 12 people, nine were subsequently arrested and are still behind bars. Two others have not been arrested, but are known to the authorities. The report said that a 12th man returned to the Syrian battlefield for the second time and carried out a suicide bombing.

None of those who returned have committed an attack on US soil.

"I'm not sure anyone, even the US government, knows for sure. Dozens of US citizens have reportedly joined jihadist groups such as the Islamic State and Hyat Tharir al-Sham, "Stewart said. "However, no one really knows how many have survived and are still there, aside from the small number of them who have been captured and identified as US citizens."

This excerpt from a video published by ISIS shows the American James Foley, murdered, with a man suspected of being Mohammed Emwazi, formerly known as the pseudonym

This excerpt from a video published by ISIS shows the American James Foley, murdered, with a man suspected of being Mohammed Emwazi, formerly known as "Jihadi John".

This figure of about 300% represents about 1% of the 30,000 foreign fighters who joined the ranks of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the vast majority coming from other Middle Eastern countries. and from Europe.

At least 50 more Americans were apprehended as they tried to leave with the intention of joining the Islamic State without ever reaching beyond US borders.

Like many ISIS foreign wives faced with the peril of the widow and the abandonment, Muthana has been married several times and would have had three ISE husbands all the way through. of his mandate. She is also known to have been a rookie of ISIS and promoted the "American blood spill".

A graduate of the US-based Hoover High School in 2013, Muthana then studied for a few years at the University of Alabama Birmingham, where she graduated in Business Administration, before being "inspired" by the ISIS radicals she had connected to online before escaping.

Under the 14th Amendment, according to Stewart, native-born citizens – such as Muthana – could not have their citizenship revoked against their will, although they could give up citizenship if they so wished.

"A naturalized citizen can be denaturalized if he gets his citizenship by fraud or is a member of a subversive group – ISIS and al-Qaeda would count as such – within five years of his naturalization" , he explained. "This means that the US government can not prevent women from entering the United States if they arrive here. However, traveling to the United States could be a challenge if they lost or destroyed their passports and / or were added to the no-fly list as potential terrorists. "

Muthana reportedly left the Islamic State territory a few weeks ago to surrender to the Kurdish fighters. Shilby said he had contacted the FBI to make arrangements for her to be arrested on her return, but claims to have shown no interest in her dilemma.

And the United States has no obligation to help ISIS's wife leave Syria and return to the United States.

"Legally, we do not have the obligation to facilitate the return home, but an American who arrives at the border can not be prevented," said Dr. Ardian Shajkovci, director of research at the Center. International Studies Violent Extremism (ICSVE). "Legally, we can only prosecute for the laws in force at the time of their trip, so no prosecution a posteriori."


But if they have enough evidence to sue, they are prosecuted as terrorists, Shajkovci said – usually under material support to anti-terrorism laws that allow us to sue for providing physical support, money etc. – They can not go home without facing the law.

"The United States has so far not refused to take back anyone, but they could do it," he continued. "The UK has lost citizenship and others too, especially when there are two nationalities."

According to reports published Tuesday afternoon by ITV News, another ISLF wife, Shamima Begum, born in London, who had also made an appeal to return home, was to be stripped of her British citizenship.

In general, wives are held in an area separate from the rest of the displaced population and are well guarded by the United States supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Most of the reasons given for keeping them are less related to security, the resulting threat, and the need to avoid conflict and retaliation from upset locals who have suffered and lost loved ones to the benefit of the group. terrorist.

Lena Frizler talks about her return to her native Germany after fleeing to become an ISIS wife, but fears her children will be abducted.

Lena Frizler talks about her return to her native Germany after fleeing to become an ISIS wife, but fears her children will be abducted.
(Hollie McKay / Fox News)

However, officials have long complained that wives are often ungrateful and resentful – threatening camp employees disrespectfully and fighting each other with accusations of theft and parental differences.

Last year, several wives and widows of the Islamic State interviewed by Fox News said that they would like to receive visits from representatives of their indigenous governments, but that at this stage no one did not contact them.

It is also unclear how many Western "women" went voluntarily or were forced to visit the now-crumpled Caliphate – and stay there – but approximations suggest that this number is in the thousands and would represent more than 120 nationalities.

The United States and its homeless fighters are fighting to completely rid the Islamic State of its territorial control in Syria, and the question that hangs over the future of many fighters and their families apprehended and monitored in the area is great. This year alone, two Americans – including a minor – were captured by the homeless who were fighting for ISIS.

President Donald Trump has urged European countries to take back their nationals who had fled, but so far the problem seems not to please. On Monday, France rejected the request, insisting that it will treat its 150 or so suspected jihadists on a case-by-case basis.


Anne Speckhard, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Georgetown University School of Medicine and Director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE), noted that in the case of US citizens traveling to foreign to join groups like ISIS, the responsibility to take back our citizens if the government that took them is not interested in keeping them and pursuing them.

"In the case of the Syrian Defense Forces, they are not a recognized government and have no legitimate means to prosecute them. Perhaps more importantly, they are asking everyone to bring men, women and ISIS children home, "she said. added. "We should respect that, since the SDF courageously fought ISIS on behalf of the world. Some women committed horrors in the Islamic State, but most of them did not have to carry arms or shed blood, but they still had to be prosecuted. It would probably be best to give them short sentences and re-education.

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