‘Jihad Jane represents a threat from online jihobbyists`
Washington: Counter terrorism experts have expressed the view that people like Colleen LaRose, who is known by her online moniker as `Jihad Jane’ are essentially ``Jihobbyists`` or people drawn to the online theatre of violent jihad, and become increasingly radical as they delve deeper into Web forums.
These experts say people like LaRose are not connected with any organised militant group, but represent a growing threat as “jihobbyists”.
According to the federal indictment against LaRose, she had pledged to commit murder in the name of jihad.
On Thursday, she pleaded not guilty to federal charges that she recruited men and women to wage attacks in Europe and Asia and plotted to murder a Swedish cartoonist who depicted the prophet Muhammad as a dog.
Unlike many of the other Americans currently facing terror-related charges, LaRose allegedly acted on her own without any training, associations with radical groups, or links to extremism beyond what her Internet connection provided.
“Both men and women who were once written off as hapless wannabes and mere ‘jihobbyists’ are unexpectedly rising to the occasion, in often quite desperate bids to prove their total commitment to the cause,” terrorism expert Evan Kohlmann recently wrote on the Counterterrorism Blog, a forum dedicated to counter-terrorism issues.
Jarret Brachman, author of ‘Global Jihadism: Theory and Practice’, coined the term “jihobbyist” as a way to identify people who weren’t part of a group such as al Qaeda or Al Shabaab, the Somali militant group, but have a growing fascination with radical Islam.
He says “jihobbyism stops when you cross over that line from thought to action."
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