Who is Aminah Mohamad? Tennessee girl, 8, taken to Syria by mom who joined ISIS, rescued

Who is Aminah Mohamad? Tennessee girl, 8, taken to Syria by mom who joined ISIS, rescued
Representational Image (Martyn Aim/Getty Images).

An 8-year-old girl from Chattanooga, Tennessee, Aminah Mohamad has been rescued from a Syrian camp on July 17. She had been living under ISIS rule since her parents fled to Syria to join the terrorist group in 2014. Aminah is currently being held at a safe location in Northeast Syria where she awaits confirmation as to when she can return to the United States, said a former US Diplomat. 

The diplomat, Peter Galbraith said Mohamad's father was killed while living under ISIS. The child's mother too died after she was injured during an airstrike. The girl was interviewed by a member of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) about her life in an ISIS camp. Galbraith has been working to send foreign women and children linked to ISIS at the detention camps, back to their countries. 


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Who is Aminah Mohamad?

According to Buzzfeed, Aminah was born on December 8, 2012, at a Chattanooga hospital. Her mother was Ariel Bradley from Hixson, Chattanooga, who called herself Emarah bint Aljon or Umm Aminah. She married a man named Yasin Mohamad and even visited the Middle East on a "mission trip". Aminah's mother grew up as a homeschooled evangelical Christian and had converted to Islam later. Her father Yasin Mohamad from Sweden was engaged to Bradley even before they met in person, after a couple of Skype calls and WhatsApp messages. 

Aminah is an American citizen and despite spending most of her time in the Middle East and Syria, she speaks very little Arabic and speaks English with an American accent. She was living in an Syrian camp with her caretaker when she was rescued. It was reported, Aminah was made to wear long robes and a niqab to conceal her identity since she was in the care of a Black woman. Playing a huge part in her rescue is a Canadian woman who joined ISIS in 2014 who has since regretted her decision.

Aminah's future is in limbo currently. Officials from the State Department, FBI, and Department of Defense have declined requests to comment. A State Department spokesperson would not confirm whether Aminah had been rescued from the camp neither could they part with information about her return to the US. However, the authority said that the country’s official policy is to “repatriate, prosecute when appropriate, rehabilitate when possible, and reintegrate their foreign terrorist fighter (FTF) nationals and associated family members currently in northeast Syria and Iraq.”

A formal process is in place for orphaned children which includes DNA testing to determine their citizenship status before they are returned to the US. Aminah's life in the US would be unlike anything she has experienced before. Her parents are dead, her younger brother is dead and another sibling remains missing. She must have seen a lot of adversity in her years in the Muslim country where she was offered no education and no healthcare. While being interviewed about her life with ISIS, she "clearly self-identified as Amina and talked about her family with deep sadness,” said the rescue group’s director, Anne Speckhard.

Speckhard said Aminah “doesn’t have a clear context as to where she is from." She said the child needs “a safe, predictable and loving environment to replace the traumatic one (she) lived under.” While the State Department remains mum about Aminah's future, Galbraith said there's nothing much that he could do for the child as well. “My ability to do anything is limited,” Galbraith said. “But I want the people who make the decisions to know where she came from and what she went through," he added.

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