For a perfect example of why ethnic profiling for terrorists—by itself—is not a terribly useful tool, we have the story of ‘Jihad Jane’, a blonde American woman who converted to Islam. Colleen/Fatima LaRose is alleged to have been involved in several plots involving terrorism, from directly going to Sweden to assassinate one of the artists whose work made up part of the ‘Danish cartoons’ to misappropriating a US passport.
Ms LaRose is not of Middle Easter extraction; she’s not dark complected; she’s female. None of these factors is among those typically identified with Islamic terrorism. If anti-terror profiling were restricted to only ethnic characteristics, Ms LaRose would have been invisible.
From The Washington Post:
JihadJane, an American woman, faces terrorism charges
A petite, blond-haired, blue-eyed high school dropout who allegedly used the nickname JihadJane was identified Tuesday as an alleged terrorist intent on recruiting others to her cause, as federal prosecutors unsealed criminal charges that could send her to prison for life.
Colleen Renee LaRose, 46, has been quietly held in U.S. custody since October on suspicions that she provided material support to terrorists and traveled to Sweden to launch an attack, according to federal officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case is continuing to unfold.
LaRose, who lived in suburban Philadelphia, allegedly recruited men and women in the United States, Europe and South Asia to “wage violent jihad,” according to an indictment issued in Pennsylvania. She fueled her interests on the Internet over the past few years and used Web sites such as YouTube to post increasingly agitated messages, the court papers said.
As an American citizen whose appearance and passport allowed her to blend into Western society, LaRose represents one of the worst fears of intelligence and FBI analysts focused on identifying terrorist threats. She is one of only a handful of women to be charged with terrorism offenses in the United States, national security experts said.