Page last updated at 13:06 GMT, Thursday, 11 March 2010

Profile: 'Jihad Jane' from Main Street

Colleen LaRose pictured in 1997
Colleen LaRose believed her looks would allow her to blend in

The blonde middle-aged woman apparently raised no concerns with her boyfriend or her neighbours on Main Street, Pennsburg, near Philadelphia.

But online she had allegedly agreed to kill in the name of holy war, believing her European looks would allow her to blend in among Swedes as she homed in on her target.

Colleen LaRose, according to a US court indictment, posted messages online under the name Jihad Jane, expressing her desire to participate in jihad, or holy war.

Arrested in October 2009, Ms LaRose had exchanged emails over 15 months to recruit fighters for "violent jihad".

Her activities apparently came as a surprise to her boyfriend Kurt Gorman, whom she met in 2005.

Mr Gorman told Associated Press: "She was a good-hearted person. She pretty much stayed around the house."

'Pleasure to die for'

She looked after his father until his death in August 2009, but left their residence a day after the father's funeral, taking Mr Gorman's passport with her, allegedly to give to a contact in South Asia she had agreed to marry.

"I came home and she was gone. It doesn't make any sense," he said.

Having left the US in August, by the end of September, she had allegedly written online that it would be "an honour & great pleasure to die or kill for" her intended spouse, the indictment said.

Colleen LaRose in a photo taken from a website she maintained
Ms LaRose's boyfriend said he never saw her display any interest in the Muslim veil

"Only death will stop me here that I am so close to the target!" she is accused of writing.

A Department of Justice statement said Ms LaRose and five others "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".

Ms LaRose, a US citizen born in 1963, is charged with "conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, making false statements to a government official and attempted identity theft."

She was apparently approached by others after she posted a video on YouTube in June 2008, saying she was "desperate to do something somehow to help" ease the suffering of Muslims, the indictment said.

Web images show her wearing a Muslim headscarf, but Mr Gorman said he never saw anything like that at their home, nor did she attend any religious services.

Unknown to him, she had allegedly agreed to travel to Sweden and kill Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who had angered Muslims by drawing the Prophet Muhammad with the body of a dog.

She denies soliciting funds for terrorist groups and of being the Jihad Jane of online postings, the indictment said.

Very few women have been charged with terrorism in the US, the Justice Department said.

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CNN 'Jihad Jane' was busy online - 2 hrs ago
Washington Post Take your shoes off - 7 hrs ago
Christian Science Monitor Three crucial questions in the 'Jihad Jane' case - 20 hrs ago 'Jihad Jane' met Islamists plotting to kill cartoonist, Irish police say - 24 hrs ago
Philadelphia Inquirer Before 'jihad,' Colleen had her demons - 27 hrs ago

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