- - Tuesday, March 5, 2019


We’ve seen unsavory brides in our time, Evita Peron, Imelda Marcos, Eva Braun and the bride of Frankenstein among them. Now comes a new and unfortunate addition to the annals of marital misfortune, “the “ISIS Brides” of the Middle East.

The brides are the hundreds of women, mostly Muslim and European, who traveled to Islamic State-controlled portions of the Middle East to marry terrorist fighters. Now that ISIS has been routed, they want to come home, and that creates a vexing issue for their native governments. One such bride is petitioning Britain, and two more want to return to Belgium.

Another such ISIS bride is actually an American citizen, one Hoda Muthana, a one-time Alabama resident now languishing in a Kurdish refugee camp in Syria with her baby. She was no mere helpmeet for her three husbands, but a cheerleader and hardened supporter of ISIS and its reign of barbarism.

Mrs. Muthana left the United States at age 19 and married not one, not two but three ISIS fighters, two of whom were killed in fighting. She repeatedly urged the killing of Americans. “Go on drive-bys and spill all of their blood,” she once tweeted, “or rent a big truck and drive all over them. Veterans, Patriot, Memorial etc. Day parades … Kill them.” She embraced Islamic nihilism: “The whole world doesn’t seem to understand that simple equation. The fact that we don’t love, or even like this world or anything in it. And we are hastening to the Next.” This echoes the familiar Islamist boast, “we love death more than you love life.” She praised jihad: “Our honor is in jihad, either victory or shahadah [martyrdom]. These men cry for their lives while we cry for our death.”

Now she regrets all that, or so she says. “When I left to Syria I was a naive, angry, and arrogant young woman … Motherhood changed me. Seeing friends, children, and the men I married changed me.” She wants to return to the United States, but President Donald Trump vows to block her repatriation. “I have instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and he fully agrees, not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country,” he tweeted. However, he demanded that European countries take back their returning ISIS fighters.

Mrs. Muthana’s citizenship question is complicated. She was born in the United States in 1994 to a Yemeni diplomat at the United Nations. Children of foreign diplomats don’t necessarily qualify for birthright citizenship, but she held two American passports between 2005 and 2014.

President Trump’s objection to allowing Mrs. Muthana back into the country, on a level of pure revulsion, is understandable. But it’s misplaced. As stupid and evil as her vile behavior was, she hardly constitutes a threat to the country. She almost certainly would not be returning to a life of freedom, but to life in a prison cell.

Mrs. Muthana would almost certainly face charges of providing material support to terrorists, a serious felony. Some Americans want her charged with treason, perhaps thinking she would pay for her crime at the end of a rope. This strikes us as using a sledgehammer to kill a cockroach. New York Post columnist Kevin Williamson argues that there’s a strong civic and moral case for going a step further and charging her with treason. “It should be a slam-dunk prosecution.” Perhaps. But Mrs. Muthana would not likely hang. “Tokyo Rose” and “Axis Sally” were American women who made propaganda broadcasts, aimed at American soldiers in the South Pacific and in Europe during World War II and were convicted of treason after the war. They served time in prison but neither was ever at risk of execution.

Other wars had their feminine propagandists, Hanoi Hannah during the Korean War, Pyongyang Sally in Vietnam. Their broadcasts achieved some popularity with American troops for the American music into which crude propaganda was interspersed. The GIs were hardly taken in and the broadcasts in all the wars were mocked as unintended mirth.

If she is judged to be an American citizen, the Widow Muthana is entitled to return home with her baby. She deserves punishment and if she returns to the United States will no doubt get it. She should come home to face the music.

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