Hoda Muthana, a 24-year old woman who fled her Birmingham, Alabama-area home to join ISIS in Syria, in 2014, and who called on others to commit violence against Americans, including against then-President Barack Obama, wants to come home to the United States. According to Muthana’s lawyer, Hassan Shibly, who himself is the leader of a group associated with Hamas, Muthana has a change of heart and now wishes “to help de-radicalize other Americans.” But if Muthana truly had a change of heart, why would she hire someone like Shibly?
In November 2014, Hoda Muthana went missing. She had told her family she was headed for a college field trip to Atlanta, Georgia but, instead, boarded a flight to Turkey, on route to her final destination, to join ISIS in Syria. While in high school, Muthana had plunged herself into a fanatical version of her faith, even going as far as to separate herself from the greater Muslim community. Winding up in Raqqa, Syria as a married member of ISIS was the culmination of this behavior.
Within a month of her arrival in Syria, Muthana married Australian ISIS fighter Suhan al-Rahman (a.k.a. Abu Jihad al-Australi), who would soon be killed in a Jordanian airstrike. In January 2015, under her married name Umm Jihad, she enthusiastically tweeted, “Alhamdulillahi rabbil alimeen, I’m the most content I have ever been in my life.”
In March 2015, also under the name Umm Jihad, Muthana called for attacks in the US, tweeting, “Americans wake up! 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 same day, she targeted then-President Barack Obama with violence. She tweeted, “You can look up Obamas schedule on the white house website. Take down that treacherous tyrant!”
According to a study done by George Washington University (GWU), because of her activity on social media, Muthana was among ISIS’s most active recruiters in the US.
Prior to joining ISIS, Muthana grew up in a very fundamentalist Muslim family, led by an admittedly controlling father, Yemeni-born Mohammed, of whom at times she was frightened. According to Buzzfeed News, who conducted an interview with Hoda, only male members of Muthana’s family were allowed to show images of themselves online, have social media accounts, or use messaging apps to communicate with anyone besides family members. During the interview, Hoda stated that her parents had an idea that she would leave for ISIS.
Immediately after Muthana left the US, Hassan Shibly stepped in to represent Muthana’s family as their attorney. However, Shibly’s participation was less about legal support and more about making excuses for Muthana’s disappearance. Both he and the family claimed she had been “brainwashed” by ISIS. Yet, to Buzzfeed, Muthana issued a veiled threat to those who claim she had been brainwashed. She stated, “Everyone’s parents or family members says that about those who have come here. To that I say, ‘Fear Allah, fear Allah with what you accuse us of.’”
Question: Who brainwashed Muthana – and her family before her – to hire Shibly?
Shibly has his own radical Islamic background. Shibly is the Executive Director for the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Since its founding, in June 1994, CAIR has been associated with Hamas. CAIR was established as part of an umbrella group headed by then-global leader of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook, and CAIR has been cited by the US government for its involvement in the financing of Hamas.
CAIR-Florida, itself, has been associated with support for Hamas. In July 2014, CAIR-Florida was the co-sponsor of a pro-Hamas rally held in Downtown Miami. Following the rally, the event organizer, Sofian Zakkout, wrote, “Thank God, every day we conquer the American Jews like our conquests over the Jews of Israel!”
In November 2006, after the 2006 Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah, Shibly told his university’s publication that Hezbollah was “basically a resistance movement” and “absolutely not a terrorist organization.” In August 2014, Shibly tweeted that “Israel and its supporters are enemies of God.” And in April 2017, Shibly promoted a video on his Facebook page lauding convicted Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti as a “hero.”
For Muthana to use Hassan Shibly as her attorney and then claim that she has been reformed is disingenuous to say the least and proves that she remains a danger to American society.
Regardless of the danger, there has been a question as to whether or not Muthana is actually an American citizen. The question revolves around her father having previously held a diplomat status. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who President Donald Trump has tasked with not allowing Muthana back into the country, has stated that she is not an American citizen. Of course, Shibly says otherwise; he wants her to be allowed back into the US, no matter what.
Shibly says Muthana wishes to “de-radicalize” other Americans. If that were the case, though, she would have sought to de-radicalize Shibly. Instead, she and her family hired him.