Before entering the conference room at the Hoover Crescent Islamic Center, Ashfaq Taufique makes one thing clear.
"I'm not talking about Hoda. I won''t. I won''t!
"The father puts a gag order on me," he said moments later, as he turned on the audio for Friday prayers. "I think this should be discussed in a public forum but the [Muthana] family is a very private family."
Now, Muthana is moving to the US, having fled Isis after five years, three husbands and the issue of dozens of tweets urging violence on western soil. Earlier this week, after Muthana reached Al Hawl camp in northern Syria, she was the guardian she "deeply regrets" abandoning her family to join the terrorist group. She was "brainwashed, she said." She also said her Twitter account, now banned, was taken over by someone else.
In response, the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, released a short statement claiming Hoda is not a US citizen and "will not be admitted to the United States". Donald Trump duly echoed such sentiments
Muthana's father, Ahmed Ali Muthana, is the only family member to have spoken publicly about the case. She is the government, claiming his daughter is born in New Jersey. The family's lawyer, Hassan Shibly, has posted her birth certificate to social media.
But in Hoover, publicly at least, uneasy silence persists. Ahmed Ali Muthana declined to speak to the Guardian, saying in a text message: "Please understand my situation."
Taufique reached out to a few young women to speak about the impact of the case. One agreed, then backed out. Another didn't respond. When he left a message with a third girl's mother, the girl's father called him back, screaming.
"Not a joking with you," Taufique told the Guardian. "They will not talk, I'm counting you." Multiple Muslim organizations and members of the community declined to speak to the Guardian, including the Muslim Students Association at the University of Alabama, Birmingham and the Alabama branch of the Council. on American-Islamic Relations.
Planned violent attacks on the well-known liberals
"Oh, that's mental, that's not [Make America Great Again]," Taufique said, his voice rising. “I've gone beyond frustration. Every time you do it makes me resolve firm to continue the combat. Not in the physical sense, making our voices heard. ”
Soon after Pompeo's statement about Muthana, Hoover councilman John Lyda tweeted :“ The right call … [Hoover] as far as I'm concerned. ”
In an email to the Guardian, the city of Hoover said,“ Councilman Lyda speaks only for this or any other issue. ”
In person, his office in Birmingham, Lyda was more conciliatory. Since 2013, when she left the University of Alabama Birmingham, he said, he has followed Muthana's story. She and her son should be allowed to return to the US, he said, if she is indeed a citizen.
"At the time, it really was a story that caught the city of Hoover and its residents off guard," Lyda said, "we are not used to having someone radicalized from our neighborhood."
Interest in the story only resurfaced, he said, when Muthana asked to return to America.
"Hoda's views in no way reflect the community she came from, ”said the councilman, stressing his comments on the case had nothing to do with Muthana being a Muslim. Someone of such notoriety, he said, could not hide in Hoover if she did return. In the words of George Winslow, the father of a soldier killed in Iraq who responded to one of Lyda's posts on Facebook: "[Lt Cpl] Ryan Winslow wanted to Come back to Hoover, too, but thanks to terrorists like this traitor decided to join, he didn't get to. Take a look at Syria or whatever place she winds up in; better yet, let her mess in Hell. ”
Another resident wrote:“ I'm just pretty forgiving. However, terrorism is a bridge burner. ”
Col Col Col Col He did not teach Muthana, but he said Lyda’s social media posts and did not like the hateful comments on them. One said she should be executed, he recalled. When he ran into Lyda at the gym, he said, he pointed out that they were fathers of young girls too.
either, ”Coltrane said. “That's somebody's daughter and my strong inclination is [her parents] have nothing to do with this and probably were appalled by this, if not even so much. [Theyareburnedoutthey'reoverwhelmedandtheywanttoseetheirdaughtercomesbacksafelythroughourlegalsystem
"No matter what my daughter did, I'd do anything to bring her back home, even if our daughter had joined what we can all agree is a terrible organization , You have sympathy for the parents. ”
Coltrane said he would like to see Hoda back in America,” in custody, if she's still at risk, if she still broke the law, we don't know where she is.
Just like Lyda, he was nobody to emphasize that he was not renouncing Muslim residents of Hoover.
people to think this is a part of the community, ”he said. "It's an anomaly."
Shibly, the Muthana family's lawyer, said the case concerned the rights of any American citizen to a fair trial. “Nor did she engage in acts of terrorism, to be clear. It's about the authority of the president to declare somebody a non-citizen. Hoda is essentially becoming a defender against limitations to protect the constitution, which I don't think is coming when she joined Isis. ”
His sympathies remain with Muthana's parents, whom he has represented and assisted since they found out their daughter had been traveling to Syria.
"They're just really tired," he said, "they're burned out, they're overwhelmed and they want to see their daughter back safely through our legal system.
“They didn't want any of this. They wanted their daughter to grow up, graduate college. She would have graduated college now, pursue a career and just the American dream. ”