People, May 2021
Six years ago, Hoda Muthana was a 20-year-old college student in Alabama who lied to her family about a trip and instead joined the Islamic State in Syria. When she arrived she was confined to a home for unwed women, with marriage to a jihadist the only way out. She married a succession of the group’s fighters — the first two of whom were killed — and had a son with one of them.
On social media, she celebrated the burning of her U.S. passport and shared thousands of incendiary tweets under the name @UmmJihad, including writing that “America desrves (sic) everything it has coming to it, by Allah we will terrorise (sic) YOU! Until you submit to the Shariah” and urging others to attack holiday parades.
“Spill all of their blood,” she wrote, “or rent a big truck n drive over them. Kill them.”
Today, two years after Muthana said she took her young son and ran away from the Islamic State as it was collapsing under military assault, she is a refugee barred from the country where she grew up with a very different view of the group she had once so longed to join.