US Supreme Court denies appeal of woman who joined ISIL

Hoda Muthana, who left the US to join ISIL in 2014, has been in a protracted legal battle to return to the country.

The United States Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal by a woman who left the US to join ISIL (ISIS), but then decided she wanted to return to the country.

The Supreme Court justices declined without comment on Monday to consider the appeal of Hoda Muthana, who was born in New Jersey in October 1994 to a diplomat from Yemen and grew up near Birmingham, Alabama.

Muthana left the US to join ISIL in 2014, apparently after becoming radicalised online.

While she was overseas, the government determined she was not a US citizen and revoked her passport, citing her father’s status as a diplomat at the time of her birth. Her family sued to enable her return to the US.

A federal judge ruled in 2019 that the US government correctly determined Muthana was not a US citizen despite her birth in the country. Children of diplomats are not entitled to birthright citizenship.

The family’s lawyers appealed, arguing that her father’s status as a diplomat assigned to the United Nations had ended before her birth, making her automatically a citizen.

Muthana surrendered to US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces as ISIL fighters were losing the last of their self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria and going to refugee camps.

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Muthana said she regretted her decision to join the group and wanted to return to the US with her toddler child, the son of a man she met while living with the group. The man later died.

Her current whereabouts are not clear.

Family attorney Christina Jump of the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America did not immediately return an email from The Associated Press news agency seeking comment on Tuesday.

The decision to revoke her passport was made under former President Barack Obama.

The case gained widespread attention as former President Donald Trump tweeted about it, saying he had directed the secretary of state not to allow her back into the country.

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