The woman now begging to return to the U.S. after fleeing and joining ISIS years ago "is willing to pay whatever debts she has to society” – even if it means serving a lengthy prison sentence, her family's lawyer told Fox News on Thursday.
Hassan Shibly made the comments about Hoda Muthana on "America’s Newsroom" a day after President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed to keep Muthana out of the country and denied she was a U.S citizen.
“She is accountable for her actions,” Shibly said. “She’s going to have to answer to God for her decisions.”
Muthana, who is now 24, was thrust back into the news this week after admitting to The Guardian newspaper in an interview from northeast Syria that she wanted to go back to America with her 18-month-old son after a traumatizing four years with ISIS where “we starved and we literally ate grass."
“I would tell them please forgive me for being so ignorant, and I was really young and ignorant and I was 19 when I decided to leave,” she reportedly said.
However, in 2015, Muthana allegedly operated a Twitter account that, on at least one occasion, tried to incite Americans to commit acts of violence on national holidays.
“Americans wake up! Men and women altogether. You have much to do while you live under our greatest enemy, enough of your sleeping!” she once wrote, according to The Guardian. “Go on drivebys, and spill all of their blood, or rent a big truck and drive all over them. Veterans, Patriots, Memorial, etc day … Kill them.”
Shibly, who argues Muthana is a legal U.S. resident born in New Jersey, tells Fox News that Muthana now wants to come back and speak to other young women to deter them from going down the same path and joining the “monstrous group of criminal thugs known as ISIS."
“People shouldn’t forget that Hoda herself right now and her family are not saying that she should just come back home, that she should get a free pass,” he said. “Everybody acknowledges that what she did was horrible, disgusting, unacceptable, but we also acknowledge that America is great because of our legal system.”
Shibly also suggested that Muthana is “tremendously remorseful” for what she did -- and claimed that she even might have intelligence about ISIS that the FBI would want to hear.
“I personally called them, I said, 'Listen we know where she is and she’s ready to speak with you. She’s ready to collaborate. She’s ready to turn herself in,'” he said. “'You should at least go question her and see if she has intelligence that can protect American lives.' And they failed to act on it and that’s really concerning.”
But Zuhdi Jasser, the Founder and President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a group that describes itself as a “Muslim-led organization working on the front lines for reform at all levels of the Muslim community” – says the government shouldn’t even bother with Muthana.
“She became, not only a terrorist, she became an enemy of our country and if she did believe in the citizenship oath…she abandoned it and actually violated it and became an enemy combatant,” he told "America’s Newsroom."
“If she is allowed in, the other path she could have is to come in and get due process of law as a citizen, which I hope would include imprisonment, and then a trial for treason, and committing acts of war against her own country,” Jasser added.
He also tore into Shibly for representing Muthana, claiming lending time to assist her detracts from other people who are suffering as a result of ISIS and the Syrian conflict.
“There are millions of American Muslims and people who want to come back that are true humanitarian victims of the Syria conflict,” he told "America’s Newsroom."
“They should get the message that jihadists have no space here and they need to be rejected legally with the full brunt of our law,” Jasser said.