(Philadelphia-PA) Colleen Renee LaRose, the "Jihad Jade" of YouTube, has dropped a bomb and not of the terrorist variety. As she sits in her federal prison cell awaiting trail for recruiting Muslim extremists, LaRose claims it was "all performance art" and she is demanding review for a NEA grant.
LaRose, who since June of 2008 has been posting Jihad messages on the Internet, is accused with seven others individuals to recruit for radical Islam. Additionally, she is charged with conspiring to murder Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks for his 2007 depiction of the prophet Mohammed as a dog.
In August 2009, LaRose went to Europe "with the intent to live and train with jihadists" for the purpose of killing Vilks. "Only death will stop me here that I am so close to the target," court papers state that LaRose wrote in an e-mail. She was subsequently arrested on her return to the United States that October, which makes the performance art shocking but not out of the realm of possibility.
According to her ex-boyfriend Kurt Gorman, "We were together for about five years. And if anyone told me she was a terrorist, I would have thought it was a joke. Now, if you told me she was a performance artist that I could believe, because she did a number on me. Kidding aside, she seemed to be very artistic. She did a lot of scrapbooking and magic tricks, mostly with cards."
While federal prosecutors are not able to allow LaRose to speak directly, they now most allow some passage of information from the accused to the media because Dick Cheney is no longer Vice President.
LaRose claims, "I posted most of these messages on MySpace. Come on. If I were really going to recruit for Islamic extremists wouldn't I do it on Facebook? This was a project to draw people's attention to the extent to which the government even under the Obama administration monitors our speech.
Now, LaRose's cause has been taken up by Hustler magazine publisher and free speech advocate Larry Flynt, who has filed a friend of the court brief in addition to offering for LaRose to be "in Hustler, and I mean a Hustler Honey, not Beaver Patrol," according to the brief.
Today, Secretary of the Department Homeland Security Janet Napolitano addressed the matter. "This is not a free speech issue. We have an individual who willfully conspired with Islamic extremists and would say to her Persian cats, note "Persian", "Oh my babies, I love you. I'd die for you." That type of performance art is a danger to us all."
As of this writing, the NEA has approved LaRose's grant, pending the outcome of her trail.