Washington: An American woman, nicknamed as "Jihad Jane" and "Fatima LaRose," has been indicted for conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists to wage violent jihad in South Asia and Europe.
Colleen LaRose, 46, who was arrested in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Oct 15, has also been charged with making false statements to a government official and attempted identity theft, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.
No arraignment date has been set for LaRose, who is being held at the Federal Detention Centre in Philadelphia, according to the US Attorney's Office.
LaRose and five unindicted co-conspirators recruited men on the internet "to wage violent jihad in South Asia and Europe, and recruited women on the internet who had passports and the ability to travel to and around Europe in support of violent jihad," according to a Justice Department statement. It was not clear immediately if India was on their terror radar.
If convicted, LaRose faces a possible life prison sentence and a $1 million fine, the statement said.
CNN cited a US government official familiar with the case as saying LaRose was successful in recruiting some people to join the cause and was able to raise money. She was in contact with committed jihadists in South Asia, Western Europe and Eastern Europe, the official said. He declined to link her to any specific terrorist organizations.
The conspiracy began in June 2008, when LaRose posted a comment on YouTube under the username JihadJane saying she is "desperate to do something somehow to help" Muslims, according to the indictment unsealed Tuesday.
From December 2008 to October 2009, LaRose engaged in electronic communication with the five co-conspirators about their shared desires to wage jihad and become martyrs, according to the indictment.
LaRose and the co-conspirators, according to the statement, used the Internet to establish relationships with each another and develop plans "which included martyring themselves, soliciting funds for terrorists, soliciting passports and avoiding travel restrictions (through the collection of passports and through marriage) in order to wage violent jihad."
The indictment against LaRose, "underscores the evolving nature of the threat we face," said David Kris, assistant attorney general for the national security division.
Michael L Levy, the US attorney in Philadelphia, said the case "demonstrates the very real danger lurking on the Internet" and "shatters any lingering thought that we can spot a terrorist based on appearance."
First Published: Thursday, March 11, 2010, 00:22