Nobody could’ve stopped Hoda Muthana when she left her family to join the ISIS years ago. She was an impressionable young woman and the terrorist organization was successful in brainwashing her. She was convinced that the American way of life was pure evil and she should leave her family in Alabama behind which she did.
Now 24, she fled ISIS three weeks ago and recently gave her first interview since her interment in the group. Hoda is hoping that she can return to her family in the United States. She also was hoping that she will receive government assistance and therapy as her punishment.
During her interview with ABC News at a refugee camp in Northern Syria, Hoda had her 18-month-old son on her lap. She explains that now, she no longer believes in their ‘extremist’ ideology. She wants to go back to her normal life in American society.
She said, “I’m a normal human being who has been manipulated. I hope America doesn’t think I’m a threat to them, and I hope they accept me. I hope they excuse me because of how young and ignorant I was. ” She explained that the terrorist group recruited her when she was just 20 years old.
She added, “I can tell them now I have changed, now I am a mother. I have none of the ideology, and hopefully, everyone will see it when I get back. ”
She also said that therapy lessons would and also a process for the government to make sure that they will not do it again. She believes that since she has been living in ISIS for years, jail time will not work for her rehabilitation. She said that she would prefer to receive therapy. She explained, “I don’t know if (jail time) has an effect on people.
I need help mentally as well. I don’t have the ideology anymore, but I am just traumatized by my experience. ”
Hoda explained that she witnessed horrible things when she was with the ISIS. She is crying almost every night because now, she is terrified that she will be locked up if she returns to Alabama. She is aware that when she gets back to the US, she will be sentenced to jail. She added, “Thinking that my last few moments with (my son) are stuck in prison before another prison.”
While she was in ISIS, she was married to three ISIS fighters. Two of them were killed in battle. She said that she selected them from a list just like how other 200 girls did. She shared that the ISIS would keep them in a locked up Raqqa where all doors and windows were completely shut. There is a guard up front and another guard in front of him.
Hoda cannot explain why she left her parents to be an ISIS bride way back in 2014. She said that she had a good relationship with her family but all she wanted was a more Americanized life. She wanted to go out, have friends and go places.
And this is not what she was getting back home. So she moved out on her own and joined the terrorist organization because she thought that this would be her opportunity to live the life that she wanted.