Al-Qa’ida has repeatedly warned would-be jihadists that women can be a temptation and a problem for even the most committed holy warrior. Especially blondes.
In one of my favorite passages of unintentional muj hilarity, back in the 1990s, al-Qa’ida cautioned its fighters headed to the Balkans that Europe presented all sorts of temptations and troubles of the female variety, and blondes in particular were to be avoided.
Now we know what they were talking about.
It’s recently hit the news with a splash that Imam Anwar al-Awlaki, the prolific jihad propagandist from New Mexico who was killed in Yemen by a U.S. drone strike in September 2011, was set up in a complex CIA-run operation involving a Danish agent, a Croatian blonde, a lot of cash, and ultimately a Hellfire missile.
At the center of the plot to get Awlaki was Morten Storm, a thirtysomething Danish convert to Islam and also an agent of Danish intelligence (PET). In a long-term operation to find and finish Awlaki, Storm eventually passed a USB stick to the imam which allowed the U.S. to track his whereabouts and … you know how it ends.
The bait here was “Amina,” a Croatian convert to Islam who had been chatting up Awlaki online and offered to become his third wife. Clearly Awlaki did not get the briefing about Balkan blondes being nothing but trouble, and Storm used Amina to get to the imam, with deadly consequences for the would-be bridegroom.
Since the imam’s jihad career, and life, ended last year, Amina reportedly has stayed in Yemen and is helping edit Inspire, the glossy, English-language magazine aimed at jihad fanboys everywhere.
PET is keeping quiet about the matter, while Storm (who has left Islam) has gone into hiding, amid death threats, since he blew his cover with his interview. The Croatian media has been aflutter with the tales of a Zagreb girl gone wrong, converting to Islam and getting caught up in the sensational saga, complete with international intrigue, online romance gone bad, and fiery explosions. The whole thing demands a screenplay.
Great story, but is it, well … true? Croatian intelligence is keeping mum about it all, sensibly enough, but there may be reason to doubt the story Storm has told us, at least the Amina angle.
Sevko Omerbasic, Zagreb’s mufti and the former head of Croatia’s Islamic Community, has questioned who Amina really is. Noting that hardly more than a few handfuls of Croats have converted to Islam in recent years (Amina supposedly accepted Islam in 2009), Imam Omerbasic claims he knows them all, and he does not know any Amina. As a public critic of terrorism and extremism, the mufti is concerned that the affair will bring discredit on Croatia’s small Muslim community.
So we don’t know. The whole thing sounds so bizarre that the former counterintelligence officer in me, who accepts that truth frequently is odder than any fiction, thinks it might well be true. Except, maybe, for the Amina part …