. . . say European intelligence officials, because the al-Qaeda networks are deliberately recruiting supporters from nontraditional backgrounds, notably female college students, as a means to escape detection. The Washington Post chronicles several startling such cases, such as the following:
In London, eight male al-Qaeda suspects are currently on trial for an alleged plot to blow up unspecified targets in Britain … the defendants persuaded a Canadian woman … to wire money on their behalf because she was less likely to attract suspicion.
Zenab Armend Pisheh, a student at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., said a member of the cell asked her to wire more than $5,000 so the defendants could go to Pakistan in 2003 to attend an al-Qaeda training camp. “He said it had to be a woman because sisters don’t get caught — brothers get caught if they send money,” Pisheh said in a statement to British investigators.
John Horgan, a scholar at the Center for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, observes jihadists are constantly trying to “maintain the psychological edge . . . by doing things that are surprising to the enemy . . . So you’ll see the use of a child, the use of a woman.”
According to a Dutch researcher, one reason such women become enmeshed in extremist networks is that they come under the influence of “Moroccan lover boys” — a phrase used by analysts to characterize attractive radicals who lure emotionally needy women into committing criminal acts.
. . . But this is a tale for another day.