Dogging Muhammad 145

One of our readers, Frank, points out in a comment on our end-of-year post, A picture for history, that flying terrorists could easily disguise themselves as nuns to avoid (actually non-existent) profiling, and he reminds us of the “Jihad Janes” – two American women who tried (though not in nuns’ habits) to join the Islamic jihad, but were arrested before they could carry out their planned acts of violence.

We re-read the story as told by the Sunday Times on March 14, last year.

Colleen LaRose, a divorced woman of 46, living in Pennsburg, PA, who called herself “Jihad Jane”, flew to Europe with the intention of killing a Swedish man she had never met and who had done her no harm whatsoever.

Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, also a divorced woman, aged 31, living in Leadville, CO, chose to play a part in the same plan. Off she flew to help murder the hapless Swede.

LaRose’s only reported motive was to alleviate her own boredom. She “used her  Twitter social networking account to raise funds for Pakistani militants”, and after her arrest, a message was found on her laptop  announcing, “I’m so bored, I want to scream.”

Paulin-Ramirez was in a similar desperate pickle:

She never liked who she was,” Christine Holcomb-Mott, her mother, told The Wall Street Journal. “She was always looking for something.”

So she converted to Islam for novelty and excitement, which was greatly enhanced by the opening it gave her to join the jihad. She “communicated [on the internet] with Islamic radicals around the globe.”

[She] changed her Facebook photograph to one depicting her in a hijab with only her eyes showing and told her astounded family she had converted to Islam. …

She began posting messages on Facebook forums with headings such as “Stop calling Muslims terrorists!” and communicating with Islamic radicals around the globe.

The stranger targeted by the two bored women was Lars Vilks, the cartoonist made famous by furious global Muslim protest against his drawings of a dog with “the head of Muhammad”, published in a Swedish newspaper in 2007.

muh-hund-originallit lars vilks

When LaRose reached Europe, she “declared online: ‘Only death will stop me now I am so close to the target.’” But a month later she flew back home, mission unaccomplished, and was arrested on landing and charged with terrorism. Her testimony led to the arrest of Paulin-Ramirez.

There is nothing new, so there should be nothing surprising, about self-indulgent bored women seeking distraction, excitement, and a sense of exceptional virtue and importance in dedicating themselves to someone else’s cause. (See our post, When innocence is vice, September 23, 2010.) Still there is something strikingly low about this pair: their blithe insouciance, their thick-headed ignorance. They’re as silly as they’re vicious.