ISIS Bride Wants to Return to U.S.-Thoughts on Empathy, Entitlement, and Domestic Terrorism

ISIS Bride Wants to Return to U.S.-Thoughts on Empathy, Entitlement, and Domestic Terrorism March 2, 2019
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A person who left the United States to join a terrorist organization wants to return to the United States. Is this some kind of political dramedy of prodigal daughter meets liberal sympathy?

Mainstream news decided that all of the nation-the world- needed to turn our attention to Hoda Muthana, commonly referred to as an “ISIS Bride” by the media, daughter of a former U.S. diplomat, who became radicalized while attending business school in Alabama. Hoda Muthana left the United States to join ISIS, and things did not quite go to plan.

Now that she has a son, is on her third marriage, where the husband’s whereabouts are unknown, and resides in a refugee camp, Amurricuh does not seem so bad, after all.

In this post, I discuss my initial reaction and empathy to Muthana’s story and its possible nod to U.S. entitlement. I close with discussing possible implications for rethinking U.S. domestic terrorism.

Get Her Mama bin Laden On

I empathize with Muthana and her family.

My initial response to the news of Muthana was along the lines of, “Why is this news?”

Following responses ranged from  “Liberals know how to lose elections in style” to “Sooo, about Flint, Michigan’s water?”

Then, I arrived at empathy.

Empathy does not necessarily remove consequences or justice.

Despite the wokest of them all who think America is the worst thing ever, I love my home.

I love my home so much, that I ever challenge this nation of  United States of America to keep progressing. As First Lady Melania Trump would say, “Be best.” Yet, folks are not be besting on race and other issues, so here we are in this blog.

Most U.S. teens, who grow up in strict homes, no matter the religion or socio-economic status, do not go full-tilt Baghdadi style in their rebellion.

Not Hoda Muthana.

She decided to get her Mama bin Laden on, to pull a reverse Elf, by walking through the Lincoln Tunnel,  through the Sea of Twirly Gum Drops,  and passing thorough the seven layers of the Candy Cane Forest to leave the USA to go to Syria.

Upon the early stages of her arrival, she had to pick out a husband from a list of names (Warning sign). There is no swiping left or right in ISIS.

Muthana’s two prior husbands died in the ISIS cause.  Her quality of life exponentially devolved in a radical departure from her pre-radicalized cushy upper-middle class conditions in the United States. Understandably, having her son was part of her wake-up call to the propaganda she had believed.

Despite empathetic support for her plight, Muthana’s ISIS participation challenges the credibility of her word.

Hello, Entitlement, My Old Friend

Are the events surrounding Muthana another case of U.S. entitlement turn media news story? Why not grant Huda Muthana the benefit of the doubt of youthful ignorance or innocence that’s given to Covington Catholic’s Nicholas Sandmann?

Somewhere there is probably a person crying aloud, “But, what about the children?!”

After all, Muthana realizes that she made a big oopsie due to youthful ignorance (Yes, I used “big oopsie.” In addition to my imaginary Jesse Jackson linguistic program which grants me license to self-generate words, I draw from the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Tippy Top”  program that is in beta.).

President Trump, and most people who do not think we need to have home grown radicalized extremists who encourage people to kill us, has refused to allow her return to the United States.  Currently, the legal basis for the decision is that Muthana is not a U.S. citizen.

Muthana, reclaiming her U.S. citizenship, did what possibly any Covington Catholic School student would do.*

She drew upon the young, innocent, and ignorant victim narrative. Correspondingly, her father filed a lawsuit against the U.S. to bring her home.

Nothing says U.S. entitlement culture like parents who stand and fight for their children’s irresponsible and poor choices with lawsuits, PR agencies, and mass media news coverage. Just throw out the whole parent-child conversation about how certain choices can have life-altering consequences.

Call all of it love, too.

If Muthana is a citizen, then she needs to be treated as such.

In an exclusive interview with ABC news, when asked if she thought she deserved punishment for her actions, Muthana replied (See 6:19 mark),

“Maybe therapy lessons. Maybe a process that will ensure us that we will never do this again. Jail time-I don’t know if that has an effect on people’s-I need help mentally, as well. I don’t have the ideology anymore, but I’m just traumatized from my experience.”

According to the report, an attorney for her family says that she understands the possibility of facing legal repercussions. I think her own words betray her in the sense that she feels entitled to no consequences for her actions. Then again, I can understand her avoidance of mentioning prison because what mentally healthy person wants to go to prison?

Nevertheless, the liberal media narrative that Muthana seeks to return to go to prison does not cut it. I did not see Muthana throw herself at the seat of mercy, tearfully, demanding, “Imprison me for what I have done. Please just let my son have a better life.” This display might have have pulled on the heart strings more about her taking ownership of her actions.

Notice how the lower left corner of the interview displays “Widow of ISIS Militants” under her name (See 1:14 mark).

The media has even given Muthana the cute and fuzzy name of “ISIS Bride.”

Was “ISIS terrorist” already taken on both counts?

Does the liberal end game involve Muthana’s heavily publicized return to United States only to get a slap on the wrist and develop her hip-hop career with the moniker “Lil ISIS?”

None of these labels speak to Muthana’s humanity.

Hoda Muthana is a human being who joined a terrorist group. As a reminder, radicalization can happen to almost any youth from any family.

Domestic Terrorism of Another Color

Although it stands to be decided if Hoda Muthana is a United States citizen, her case has prompted me to return to the issue of terrorism within our own country. I believe domestic terrorism needs much legal clarity, to avoid conflating activism with terrorism or protecting terrorism under free speech laws.

White people with racial paranoia can have a singular focus on the terrorism from Brown and Black people. This trend has raised concerns about how the handling of Muthana’s situation would/will impact the United States’ use of denying citizenship or legal  affairs involving the return of citizens aligned with terrorist organizations.

Meanwhile, the United States ignores the White supremacist organizations and their mainstream institutional infiltration, from government to commerce, choosing a more reactive approach.

Not a “be best” moment.

We continue to treat hate organizations, ones with track records of killing and terrorizing individuals and entire communities, like the Girl Scouts of America. I argue these are not the same types of organizations to be afforded the same kinds of freedoms.

If the United States stands against terrorism, why aren’t we seeking to lock up, remove citizenship of, and/or deport White supremacists?

Why haven’t politicians officially deemed these groups as anti-American enough to take legal action?

Why don’t more everyday “God Bless America” White people say things like, “If you don’t like our country, get out?”


“Go to Croatia?


“Go back to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany,” like the ways these individuals bellow, “Go back to Africa?”

Why don’t more of  these patriots comment on White supremacist blogs in attempts to silence them? Wouldn’t people who are pro-America be against racism?

Before there was ISIS, there were White supremacist organizations and all of the off-shoots that share there ideology.

With the same tenacity we have about the “ISIS Bride,” we can use it to resolve the spread of formal hate groups in this country with creative solutions and critical thinking.

What if we replaced the school-to-prison pipeline with White supremacist-to-prison pipeline?

What if we gave asylum-seeking immigrants, who will contribute to a just society, the citizenship of White supremacists?

I am brain-storming here.

Knowing that our country refuses to allow these organizations to function might prompt politicians to stop ignoring the issue for the sake of garnering votes.

Until then, let us extend that good ole’ Judeo-Christian grace for people who spell America as “Amerikkka.”


* I watched approximately 2 hours of footage and read the independent report involving the Covington Catholic school students, Nathan Phillips, and the Black Hebrew Israelites.

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  • kaydenpat

    This is tricky for me because my gut reaction is that the ISIS bride should NOT be allowed back into the U.S. since she forfeited her citizenship by joining up with a terrorist organization. However, if she is entitled to her citizenship despite what she did (left the U.S. to join a terrorist group), then the U.S. has to take her back, I guess. My empathy for her is extremely low given the horrors that ISIS has brought to so many people, including millions of Muslims throughout the Middle East.

    Trump will fight tooth and nail to keep her out of this country so good luck to her.

  • Heffalumps&Woozles

    Personally I have less than zero sympathy for her. She knew what she was doing when she joined up with rapists and murderers (i.e. terrorists). The only thing she should get if she is allowed to return to the US is life in prison with no parole. I feel sorry for her son, but considering the evil that ISIS wrought onto innocent people I have no reason to feel sorry for the situation that she got herself and her child into.

  • kaydenpat

    Yeah, perhaps her American relatives can adopt her son but she can stay where she is.

  • Elizabeth A. Root

    Actually it was the Obama administration that decided that she was not a citizen, based on the grounds, according to some sources, that he was on a diplomatic visa even after he ceased to be a diplomat (a courtesy to allow diplomats to get their affairs in order before their presumed return to their own country), or that he didn’t notify the US of his changed status before her birth. Perhaps in the latter case, he is suspected of trying to continue the appearance of having diplomatic immunity after he had in fact lost it. If he wasn’t subject to USA law at the time of her birth, she’s not a citizen. One article said that such decisions are not normally subject to judicial review. That would presumably make her a Yemeni citizen, which at this point would probably worse than being a refugee.

    According to another source, it is difficult to strip a USA citizen of their citizenship, unless, perhaps, they are convicted of treason. Which is why it would be difficult to strip domestic terrorists of their citizenship, since they haven’t given allegiance to a foreign power.

    So I think that we have to take her back if she is a citizen. I hope that we then throw the book at her, beginning with treason charges.

    I guess the best option for her child would be adoption by her family, but from what I’ve seen about them, it doesn’t seem like a good option.

  • Heffalumps&Woozles

    That would probably be the kindest option for her kid since he didn’t ask to be born stateless to a terrorist.

  • @RaceandGrace

    I understand why this is a tricky issue for you-or anyone.

  • Brandon Roberts

    it sucks but she has no one to blame but herself and she could easily be lying and isis could planning to use her as a trojan horse, she shouldn’t be allowed to return 100% free imo.

  • @RaceandGrace

    Thank you for your comment about the legal basis for U.S. government’s current decision. Yes, from my understanding, Muthana’s family contends that Hoda was born after her father completed his diplomatic duties and is considered a citizen. I am curious: Why do you think adoption does not seem like a good option?

  • Elizabeth A. Root

    The thing that bothers me that most is that in all the years she has lived in the United States, her mother never learned English. It seems to be only her father that anyone talks to. The family was supposed to be very strict, but no details were given except that the kids didn’t get a cell phone until they got out of college. I guess that is balanced by the fact that they did allow her to go to college. They did raise her — I wonder if that made her upbringing made her more likely to go in for the sort of Islam that ISIL was selling.

    I would have to say that having read the interview with him while she was living with ISIL was heart-breaking — he seemed like a very devoted father. But again, has her mother nothing to say? Has she died?

  • @RaceandGrace

    Thank you, Elizabeth, for sharing more of your thoughts on this challenging (and “heart-breaking”) issue in response to my question.