This young woman used to tweet hate-filled comments about "spilling blood" of Americans and jihad ... but people are shocked that she joined ISIS? If ever there was a online forum for the National Security Agency to monitor, it's Twitter. And presumably, the NSA is monitoring all of the social networks -- so why didn't they pick up these tweets?
What a tragic outcome for a young woman who had everything handed to her by a loving family in Alabama, and had the advantages of being an American citizen, then who threw it all away to live among terrorist savages.
By Jon Anderson
The 20-year-old woman from Hoover who abandoned her family and fled to Syria a few months ago to join the radical Islamic group called ISIS was quiet and reserved in the halls of Hoover High School, a former classmate said.
Hoda Muthana, who graduated from Hoover High School in 2013 and went on to study business at the University of Alabama at Birmingham before skipping the country in November, was not someone her former classmates suspected would have joined up with a violent Islamic group, said Jordan LaPorta, who graduated with her.
"It seems bizarre just because she was so quiet and kind of kept to herself," said LaPorta, now a sophomore at the University of Alabama. "But we've kind of learned over the years that sometimes it's people just like that who are most susceptible to extremist groups."
Muthana, whose family is Muslim but does not espouse the extreme views of ISIS, began delving more into jihadist interpretations of Islam that she found on the Internet after she graduated from Hoover High School and started college at UAB, according to an article published on the BuzzFeed website Friday afternoon.
In November, she tricked her father into letting her go to Atlanta supposedly for a school field trip, but instead hopped a plane to Turkey and then Syria to hook up with ISIS, according to the account on BuzzFeed. Less than a month after she arrived in Syria, she married an Australian jihadist who died only a few months later, allegedly killed by Jordanian air strikes during a battle, according to the BuzzFeed report.
Muthana, who seemed harmless in high school, has shared violent contempt for the United States and non-Muslims in posts she made on Twitter under a different name.
"Terrorize the kuffar [derogatory term for non-Muslims] at home," she tweeted. "Americans wake up!" "Men and women altogether. You have much to do while you live under our greatest enemy, enough of your sleeping! Go on drive-bys and spill all of their blood, or rent a big truck and drive all over them. Veterans, Patriot, Memorial etc Day parades..go on drive by's + spill all of their blood or rent a big truck n drive all over them. Kill them."
It's that kind of talk that is most shocking to her former classmates.
"To know that someone from your own city can get involved in something so evil, it's an eye-opener," LaPorta said. "When you hear about these things on the news, it seems like just an overseas problem. It really opens up your eyes that there are people in this country that sympathize with people like that and think it's OK ... I don't think anybody saw this in her."
People often change when they go to college, LaPorta said.
"Going away changes you, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse," he said. "As much as we don't like to admit it, incoming college freshmen are very impressionable."
If they have no support group, people often will get involved with any group that helps give them a feeling of identity, LaPorta said.
There are a lot of students from Hoover High School at the University of Alabama, and many people there are talking about Muthana's departure to Syria and ISIS, he said. "It's gotten a pretty big buzz."