The Islamic State is a transnational Sunni Islamist insurgent and terrorist group that controlled large areas of Iraq and Syria from 2014 through 2017. A series of terrorist attacks attributed to the group or to individuals it has inspired have claimed hundreds of lives on four continents since November 2015, including in the United States. While U.S. and allied forces in 2017 and 2018 successfully liberated most of the territory formerly held by the group in Syria and Iraq, IS leadership remains at large and IS fighters appear to be evolving into an insurgent force. The relationship between US and ISIS has never been pleasant.
The lives of the women related to those who are a part of ISIS are in question now. For instance, there are numerous women from the US who married ISIS fighters in Syria and had to leave their home countries. Hoda Muthana is one amongst them. However, now, some of them want to return home. The reasons differ in each case. For example, a widow wants to come back with her 18-month-old son. The co-director of the Immigrant Justice Clinic at the Northeastern University, Hemant Gundavaram commented “Whether she’ll be able to could set a major legal precedent”. Another woman was asked to return to her home country US, after being a part of the terrorist organization.
According to Gundavaram, in the U.S, the right answer to whether they can return or not intersects with all three branches of government. President Donald Trump has strictly forbidden the entry of Hoda Muthana in the US territory through a twitter statement, to which Gundavaram said “It’s not as black-and-white as that. She’s entitled to due process, so this sweeping statement isn’t a declaration they can make”. Gundavaram further states – “Some might argue that conspiring with a terrorist group is the same thing but there’s no legal interpretation over whether or not that’s true.”
Muthana is living in a refugee camp in Syria while her case is being worked out.
“Even if she is allowed to return, I’d think she could be subject to criminal proceedings for her association with ISIS,” Gundavaram concludes.
Shahjadi Jemim Rahman