Published On: Sun, Feb 24th, 2019

One Apologized, One Regrets Nothing

Women in I.S: Two cases give insight into the world of Western women who went to the Islamic State

Shamima Begum and Hoda Muthana

Two women who joined ISIS and are now in camps in Syria have left their mark on the world public: Shamima Begum and Hoda Muthana. These two IS women are only two out of hundreds, most of whom are stuck with children in Syria or Iraq. Their biographies have parallels: they went to the IS and ended up in a nightmare.

Some of these women have reappeared out of nowhere. For example, Hoda Muthana (now 24 years old), who begged pardon in a long well-formed letter, regretted her actions and agreed to surrender to the US judiciary, was considered one of the most radical IS agitators on Twitter. Unlike the majority of IS women, who in the multi-layered propaganda of the terrorist militia covered mostly the soft part (descriptions of the “beautiful, romantic life in the caliphate”), she called for attacks. She was married to three jihadists and gave birth to three children, two of whom died. Now she wants to go back to the USA, According to her lawyer, she is ready to help with deradicalization measures.

But the US does not want to let them into the country anymore. Reason: You have no valid travel documents. The US authorities also questioned their citizenship – their father worked briefly at the Yemeni embassy in the US. For diplomats, an exception to birthright applies to US citizenship.

The citizenship was also withdrawn of Shamima Begum. The Briton had followed friends to Syria, lost two children still in their infancy, and had just given birth to their third child. In interviews, she openly admitted that she would not regret her trip to Syria. She described the attack on the Manchester Arena on May 2017 as a “retaliatory act” and compared it to attacks on IS strongholds. Her husband (a Dutch convert) was described by a Syrian refugee as the right hand of a high IS superior. Shamima herself stated that both had fled the IS because her husband had been suspected of being a spy and tortured. She is willing to change.

The question in both cases, as so many others, is: what about the children of women? For example, Shamima Begum’s family clearly distanced themselves from the young woman’s views in a letter to the British Home Secretary but asked to let the young mother enter the country for the sake of the child.