United States President Donald Trump on Wednesday said a woman from Alabama who joined the Islamic State in Syria and now wants to come home would not be allowed back into the country.
“I have instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and he fully agrees, not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!” Trump tweeted. The president’s statement comes a few days after he urged European countries to take back Islamic State fighters who were captured by US-backed forces in Syria.
Pompeo issued a statement saying Muthana was not a US citizen and that she will not be admitted into the country, AP reported. “She does not have any legal basis, no valid US passport, no right to a passport nor any visa to travel to the United States,” Pompeo said.
Muthana’s lawyer, Hassan Shibly, said Muthana was born in the US and had a valid passport before she joined the terrorist group in 2014. Shibly said Muthana had renounced Islamic State and now wanted to return to the US to protect her 18-month-old son regardless of legal consequences.
Shibly said Muthana wanted due process and was willing to go to prison if convicted. “We cannot get to a point where we simply strip citizenship from those who break the law,” AFP quoted Shibly as saying. “That’s not what America is about. We have one of the greatest legal systems in the world, and we have to abide by it.”
According to The New York Times, Muthana’s father was a Yemeni diplomat, and children born in the US to active diplomats are not bestowed birthright citizenship as diplomats are under the jurisdiction of their home countries.
However, this does not apply in the woman’s case as she was born a month after her father was discharged as a United Nations diplomat, according to Charlie Swift, director of the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America, who is representing Muthana’s family.