Judge Denies Citizenship Claim by U.S.-Born Volunteer from Islamic State

Undated photo of Hoda Muthana provided via AP by Attorney Hassan Shibly.
Hassan Shibly via AP

A judge has rejected a claim for citizenship by a female Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) member who was born in the United States to a Yemeni diplomat.

The case was brought by an Islamic legal group to win citizenship for Hoda Muthana, who cashed in her eduction funding in 2014 to join the Islamic State jihad group.

“While we are disappointed with and disagree with the court’s ruling today, this is not the end of our client’s legal options,” said Christina Jump, a lawyer with the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America. The group’s board includes Khaled Beydoun, who routinely describes critics of Islam as similar to people with paranoia, or “Islamophobic.”

The judge was Reggie Walton at the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia.

The case hinged on the legal status of the woman’s Yemeni father at the time of her birth. He arrived in the United States as a diplomat. Hoda was born shortly after he gave up his diplomatic status — but before the United States had recorded his change of status.

The children of diplomats are exempted from the constitution’s 14th Amendment, which grants citizenship to “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” Diplomats are agents of foreign countries and are not “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”

President Donald Trump and U.S. officials rejected the woman’s claim to citizenship:

Buzzfeed News wrote about Muthana’s activities for ISIS:

HOOVER, Alabama — In her first tweet from Syria, “Umm Jihad” uploaded a picture of four passports — American, Canadian, U.K., and Australian — being held by hands garbed in the black gloves worn by the most conservative Muslim women. “Bonfire soon, no need for these anymore, alhamdulliah [thanks be to God],” she captioned the image. Now that they were living under the Islamic State, no other nationality mattered.

Using her account @ZumarulJannah, which has now been suspended, Umm Jihad expressed contempt for the United States. “Soooo many Aussies and Brits here,” she tweeted. “But where are the Americans, wake up u cowards.” If other American ISIS supporters couldn’t make it to Syria, she said, “Terrorize the kuffar [derogatory term for non-Muslims] at home.”

“Americans wake up!” she tweeted on March 19. “Men and women altogether. You have much to do while you live under our greatest enemy, enough of your sleeping! 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.”

The judge also barred the father from sending money to his daughter. She is living in a Syrian camp under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is a Kurdish militia that is aligned with the United States.


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