Hoda Muthana has a problem. She hates where she lives — in part because her last three husbands have been slaughtered. All of a sudden, the woman born in the United States, who traveled to Syria to join ISIS, wants to come back to the good ol’ U.S. Considering what conditions must be like in Syria, a nation still reeling from a devastating civil war and genocide inflicted by their supreme leader on his own people, you can’t hardly blame her.
Of course, those of us who stayed put in the U.S. and ignored the urge to find terrorist groups to hang out with are quite resentful about the idea of letting her back in. The very notion sounds repulsive to many of us, including me.
As a frequent Twitter user, I’ve seen some pretty offensive things posted on there from time to time — and I’ll tell you, the political stuff isn’t even the worst of it. But it’s hard to find posts that top the Deeply Offensive Meter as triumphantly as the ones Hoda posted, calling for the murder of Americans, including this little ditty:
“Go on drive-bys and spill all of their blood, or rent a big truck and drive all over them. Veterans, Patriot, Memorial etc Day parades..go on drive by’s + spill all of their blood or rent a big truck n drive all over them. Kill them,” as reported by BuzzFeed News from her now-suspended Twitter account.
Well, she was quite the charmer in her ISIS heyday. And that’s kind of the problem I have. Anybody remember last December, when the French city of Strasbourg suffered a devastating terrorist attack after a gunman killed at least three people and wounded 11 others at the city’s world-famous Christmas market? I do. The images we watched on the evening news were horrific and depressing; and like a lot of other Americans, I’ve completely soured on those who advocate the killing of innocent civilians in the name of ISIS jihadist rhetoric.
Strangely, though, the current debate seems to be over Hoda’s citizenship more than anything else. The question is, should that matter?
What Do We Know of About Her
We know that Hoda went to Syria from Alabama (I know that’s going to prompt snickering and crude jokes among some, but I’m not one of them; I think Alabama is a beautiful state in many ways) feeling seduced by those zany ISIS kids. Fast forward to last week. That was then, as they say, and this is now. In an interview with The Guardian, the infamous ISIS Bride now claims to be feeling deep regret for joining up with terrorists, though I suspect having to bury three husbands is a key reason why it gets tiresome.
“When I came here and saw everything with my own eyes I realized I’ve made a big mistake,” she told The Guardian, which reports that Hoda was eventually captured by Kurdish forces and is in a refugee camp in northern Syria with an 18-month-old son. Poor kid. Him, I truly feel bad for.
Hoda left us in November 2014, after having met Islamic State radicals online. She then became a “recruiter” for ISIS on Twitter. And I thought the folks who posted photos on Twitter of their latest operation or the inside clips from their colonoscopy were exhibiting bad taste.
Granted, it’s hard for folks like me to understand the jihadist appeal, although in all honesty I don’t much care what her reasons are. Her calls for the deaths of her fellow U.S. citizens was kind of the last straw for me, and I feel quite apathetic about her future misery meter.
Now, some might jump in here and point out that …. Hoda is, after all, an American …. and according to our Constitution, she doesn’t lose her citizenship just because 99% of us find her jihadist ideology grotesque and inhuman. And she could come back and face trial for her crimes, although others have countered that if her deep remorse is all a put-on, she could continue recruiting young jihadists from prison, creating long-term problems for the U.S. to cope with.
What Are The Politics Involved Here?
Britain just took a “Citizenship, schmitizenship” attitude, and revoked the citizenship of a woman who left their country to join ISIS and now wants back — done perhaps as a warning to others not to follow her example, although why Britain would want any jihadist sympathizers in their country rather than Syria is beyond me.
So the debate continues. Hoda’s home state U.S. Senator, Doug Jones, D-AL, has said she should be allowed to return home to face the U.S. justice system. As Jones told AL.com, “While I certainly understand the initial reaction to prohibit Hoda Muthana from coming back to the United States, I am concerned that allowing anyone who has committed crimes against the people of this country to remain beyond the reach of our justice system is the wrong approach and sends the wrong message. My view is that she should absolutely be brought to justice for inciting violence against Americans.”
Good point, I suppose, but not everyone agrees. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claims Hoda doesn’t have U.S. citizenship because her father was a Yemeni diplomat when she was born, and the children of diplomats don’t qualify for automatic citizenship. President Trump also wants Hoda to stay with her new pals in Syria; he recently tweeted that she shouldn’t be allowed back into the country.
While I’m normally far more likely to side with Doug Jones than Donald Trump, that’s not the case here. I have huge doubts that Hoda truly regrets her move to Syria — and, more importantly, her calls for the deaths of Americans. She may just be hoping that she can get back to Alabama, where she can fight long lines at the local buffet rather than dodging bombs, bullets and poisonous gas in Syria. Maybe she thinks her lawyers can convince the courts that she truly is one remorseful mama and boy does she now love the Red, White and Blue.
I don’t buy it. I don’t trust much of anything that comes out of her mouth anymore.
And while I feel quite bad for her son and the miserable life he’s going to lead, Hoda made her proverbial bed a long time ago, and now she can lie in it.
Honey, the welcome mat just got pulled inside the door, as far as I’m concerned.
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright and author of the book “Of Cats And Wolves.” Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.
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