Hoda Muthana, who ran away from Alabama aged 20, says she regrets everything about joining the terror group bar the infant son she conceived with her soldier husband.
She claims she was brainwashed by online traffickers into joining the group in 2014 and denounced tweets from her account the year after which called for Americans to join ISIS and commit vehicle rammings and other attacks on US holiday celebrations.
In a rare interview from the Roj detention camp in Syria where she is being held, Muthana said she still hopes to return to the United States and will serve prison time if necessary.
“If I need to sit in prison, and do my time, I will do it. … I won’t fight against it,” the 28-year-old told The News Movement. “I’m hoping my government looks at me as someone young at the time and naive.”
Speaking with TNM, she describes how, after arriving in Syria in 2014, she was detained in a guest house reserved for unmarried women and children.
“I’ve never seen that kind of filthiness in my life, like there was 100 women and twice as much kids, running around, too much noise, filthy beds,” she said.
Muthana offered to help root out radicalisation if she was allowed to return home to the United States.
“Even here, right now, I can’t fully say everything I want to say. But once I do leave, I will. I will be an advocate against this,” she said.
“I wish I can help the victims of ISIS in the West understand that someone like me is not part of it, that I as well am a victim of ISIS.”
Muthana described herself as a former Islamic “radical” who has changed her beliefs and deeply regrets travelling to ISIS territory.
In 2014, she told her family she was going on a school trip but flew to Turkey and crossed into Syria instead, funding the travel with tuition checks that she had secretly cashed.
In posts sent from her Twitter account in 2015 she called on Americans to join the group and carry out attacks in the U.S., suggesting drive-by shootings or vehicle rammings targeting gatherings for national holidays.
In her interview, Muthana now says her phone was taken from her and that the tweets were sent by IS supporters.