The Deal With "Jihad Jane"

Yesterday, the woman known as "Jihad Jane" pled guilty on terrorism charges. Here's the background on her case to refresh your memory.

Her real name is Colleen LaRose, and until recently she was living in Philadelphia. She's been charged in a conspiracy to murder Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who had drawn the Prophet Mohammed with the body of a dog. She was also charged with conspiracy to support terrorists and lying to the FBI. In postings online, she called herself the cable news-ready "Jihad Jane," and told associates her blonde hair and fair skin would help her blend in in Europe. Some other fun facts:

  • Her other online handles included Jihad Jane, SisterOFTerror and Fatima LaRose. Creative!
  • She's 4'11.
  • She wasn't actually trained in terrorist violence. Per NPR, "U.S. officials seemed less alarmed by her plans than by her appearance, a petite blond American woman who did not fit the profile of an international terrorist, because that is what made her potentially valuable to terrorists." Or, it is incredibly marketable for a terrorist to have blonde hair, both for actual terrorists and the people who write about them.
  • She recruited a second woman, Jamie Paulin Ramirez, 32, of Colorado. Some people tried, with little credence, to argue that her existence signified a feminist victory. Lindsay Beyerstein had the last word on this: "She waged 'jihad' with facebook updates. Her neighbors knew her as the "crazy lady" who talked to her cats. Some feminists love cats, but not all cat-lovers are feminists. As far as feminism goes, LaRose allegedly swore allegiance to al Qaeda, one of the most sexist organizations in the world—the guys who brought us global war for perpetual patriarchy."
  • The number of US citizens accused participating in terrorist activities has actually gone down by half in the last year, to 20, after hitting a high of 47 in 2009. Obama has fixed everything!

Jihad Jane Colleen LaRose Pleads guilty To Conspiracy To Murder In Alleged Plot [NYDN]