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'Everyone deserves second chance': US-born Islamic State bride appeals again to come home from Syria

File photo of Hoda Muthana. Photograph:( AFP )

AFP Washington, United States Nov 10, 2019, 08.49 AM (IST)

A US-born woman who says she regrets having joined the Islamic State group has appealed again to come home from the refugee camp where she lives with her small son in Syria.

The government is refusing to let Hoda Muthana return to the US, arguing that she is not an American citizen.

In an interview with NBC News published Saturday, Muthana said she "regrets every single thing" done by IS, which she joined in 2014 after embracing extremist ideology while living with her family in Alabama.

"Anyone that believes in God believes that everyone deserves a second chance, no matter how harmful their sins were," Muthana said. 

The interview was conducted in northeast Syria at the Al-Roj refugee camp, controlled by Kurdish forces, where Muthana lives with her two-year-old son Adam.

Muthana said she fears for her life because she could be targeted by people at the camp who have not renounced IS.

"I did not support the beheadings from (IS) from day 1, until now I do not support any of their crimes and suicide attacks," Muthana said. 

The US government has repatriated several American women linked to the group, along with their children, but not Muthana.

Washington argues she is not a US citizen even though she was born in the US because she is the daughter of a diplomat serving for the Yemeni government at the time.

The children of US-based foreign diplomats do not enjoy citizenship by birthright.

Muthana has filed suit to try to return to the US. She had travelled to Syria on a US passport.

"I am a citizen and I have papers to prove it. I am as American as a blond-haired blue-eyed girl and I would like to stay in my country and do American things," Muthana told NBC.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called her a terrorist.

Muthana married three IS fighters, all of whom died in combat.

She took part actively in IS propaganda, according to the Counter Extremism Project.

She had urged jihadists in America to "go on drive-bys, and spill all of their blood."

Muthana also hailed an attack in 2015 in France against the offices of the magazine Charlie Hebdo, which left 12 people dead.

In the interview with NBC she said "it was an ideology that really was just a phase." She refused to discuss those earlier comments.

She said she is willing to face the US justice system if she is allowed to return.

Story highlights

The government is refusing to let Hoda Muthana return to the US, arguing that she is not an American citizen.