Quick: "Warrior for al Qaeda" or Danish beauty contestant?
Gotcha there. This, purportedly, is a photograph of Malika El Aroud--at least it's a photograph of her Islamic drapery (basic black, tres chic).
El Aroud, the New York Times reports in considerable detail, is "one of the most prominent Internet jihadists in Europe," exhorting Muslims to fight the jihad online from her home in Brussels. "It's not my role to set off bombs--that's ridiculous," she told the Times. "I have a weapon. It's to write. It's to speak out. That's my jihad. You can do many things with words. Writing is also a bomb."
And so she continues, raving on about jihad. But what is most disturbing and train-wreck fascinating about her is the ease with which she operates at the heart of the continent she seeks to conquer for Islam.
After all, she said, she knows the rules. “I write in a legal way,” she said. “I know what I’m doing. I’m Belgian. I know the system.”
That system often has been lenient toward her. She was detained last December with 13 others in what the authorities suspected was a plot to free a convicted terrorist from prison and to launch an attack in Brussels. But Belgian law required that they be released within 24 hours, because no charges were brought and searches failed to turn up weapons, explosives or incriminating documents.
Now, even as Ms. El Aroud remains under constant surveillance, she is back home rallying militants on her main Internet forum and collecting more than $1,100 a month in government unemployment benefits.
“Her jihad is not to lead an operation but to inspire other people to wage jihad,” said Glenn Audenaert, the director of Belgium’s federal police force, in an interview. “She enjoys the protection that Belgium offers. At the same time, she is a potential threat.”
Potential? What does a jihadist have to do to lose the citizenship and protection and welfare benefits of a country the jihadist is actively seeking to destroy?