PHILADELPHIA - A US citizen desperate to do something to help suffering Muslims has been charged with using the Internet to recruit jihadist fighters and help terrorists overseas, even agreeing to move to Europe to kill someone, prosecutors said yesterday.
Authorities said the case shows how terror groups are looking to recruit Americans to carry out their goals.
A federal indictment charges that Colleen R. LaRose, who called herself JihadJane online and lived in suburban Philadelphia, agreed to kill a Swedish citizen on orders from the unnamed terrorists and traveled to Europe to carry out the murder. It does not say whether the Swede was killed, but LaRose was not charged with murder.
A US Department of Justice spokesman would not confirm the case is related to a group of people arrested in Ireland earlier yesterday on suspicion of plotting against a Swedish cartoonist who depicted the Prophet Mohammed with the body of a dog.
But a US official speaking on the condition of anonymity said LaRose had targeted the Swedish cartoonist and had online discussions about her plans with at least one of the suspects apprehended in Ireland. .
The official also said LaRose, who has blond hair and blue eyes, indicated in her online conversations that she believed her appearance would help her move freely in Sweden to carry out the attack. LaRose is a convert to Islam who actively recruited others, including one American.
US Attorney Michael Levy said the indictment does not link LaRose, a US citizen who moved to Europe in August 2009, to any organized terror groups.
LaRose, 46, lived in Montgomery County, Pa., before moving to Europe.