Hoda Muthana, the so-called "ISIS bride" who is trying to work her way back into the United States after escaping to join the terrorist organization, has lost her first legal battle, and will not be welcomed into the U.S. on an "emergency" basis.
The Washington Times reports that a federal judge denied Murthana's attorneys' claims that she is under severe duress and must return to the United States, even before her petition for citizenship is litigated. He denied the motion which requested Muthana's case be heard on an "emergency basis," rather than when it comes up for review on the federal docket.
Muthana will remain in a refugee camp in Syria with her toddler son until the court officially takes up her case, which could happen in the next several months. The federal judge who heard the emergency motion on Monday did agree that Muthana's case "has merit," so it was not dismissed entirely.
Muthana's case is complex. She believes she is a citizen and should be allowed to return to the United States because she did not renounce her citizenship when she left to join the Islamic State in Syria. After discovering that the "terrorist life" wasn't all it was cracked up to be, she, like many other westerners who thought they were signing up for a romantic crusade through the Middle East, says she regrets her decision and wants to return home to Alabama.
The United States, of course, contends that Muthana is not a citizen and never was, because her father was a Yemeni diplomat living in New Jersey at the time of her birth, and the children of diplomats inhereit the citizenship of their parents, not the citizenship of the country in which they reside.
Diplomats, CNN reports, are “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States," but are not considered citizens, and nor are any progeny born during their stay. Muthana's father says that he was no longer a diplomat by the time she was born — he'd resigned his position two weeks before — but he still retained a diplomatic visa, not a tourist or work visa. A federal court may have to decide how to interpret that status.
The State Department says that, in any case, Hoda Muthana's diplomatic passport was revoked when she decided to leave the United States to join up with a terrorist army that has declared open war on America and its interests.
She can appeal the court's decision, but even if she is eventually granted the opportunity to return to the United States, she won't be automatically allowed to settle in to life in Alabama with her toddler son as if nothing ever happened. If — and it's a big "if" — she's allowed to come back, she will face the Department of Justice, which will have to decide whether to pursue charges against her for joining a terrorist organization.
Muthana's case has been high profile, but she is one of several women looking to "repatriate" to their "home countries" following a disasterous experience as an ISIS bride. This is the first time the United States has been forced to contend with the issue, but courts in the United Kingdom are backed up with repatriation requests from both women and men who left the country to join ISIS, only to find out their life was far better in the west.