Give her the same respect

One of the attitudes that differentiates most Americans from the vicious murderers of the Islamic State terrorist group is compassion. IS killers consider it a weakness. We take pride in it.

Perhaps we ought to show Hoda Muthana some of that compassion.

Muthana once lived in Alabama. A few years ago, while in college, she told her parents she was going on a trip. She did not reveal her destination: Syria. There, she joined the Islamic State.

She is in a refugee camp in Syria now, having fled from an IS-controlled area. She has an 18-month-old son with her. Muthana says she made a terrible mistake.

She wants to come home.

U.S. officials say that will not be permitted. They insist she is not an American citizen, thus has no right to come to this country. Her family’s lawyer says she is a citizen and is honestly repentant.

If so, she ought to be welcomed back as a prodigal daughter.

Her story has to be checked out, of course. There is the possibility that she is a committed IS recruit on a mission for the murderers.

It also is possible Muthana retains IS beliefs and is merely trying to get off a sinking ship safely.

A final concern is whether she took an active role in IS operations. If so, she may have to answer for her crimes.

Simply rejecting her out of hand answers neither of those questions. What if she is exactly what she says she is — a young person who, upon discovering the error of her thinking, repented and is asking for a second chance?

And what of her little boy? Do we reject him, too?

It won’t do. We give people who have committed serious crimes here second chances. Muthana –assuming she is being honest — deserves the same consideration we might give to a young woman who never left Alabama.

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