The story of Colleen LaRose, an American citizen charged with terrorist-related crimes, made headlines last March as Americans were assured that yet another terrorist plot had been foiled. Colleen La Rose, infamously known as “Jihad Jane,” was pictured all over the news, described in most cases as a victim of brainwashing. Captivated by the fact that a woman, instead of a man, was behind a terrorist plot, the media zoomed in on the life of Colleen LaRose, delving into areas of her love life and emotional and psychological history.
At the same time, similar stories of women suicide bombers and terrorists made headlines. These Muslim women were depicted by the media as being either coerced by Muslim men to take part in terrorist acts or as victims of entrapment, enslaved by a religion that calls for jihad. Whatever story viewers believed, the media made sure it was one that would stir up feelings of sympathy for Muslim women, even those suspected of engaging in terrorist acts.
Last October, in its first season, Law and Order: Los Angeles aired an episode titled “Sylmar,” which was loosely based on the case of Jihad Jane. Oddly enough, writers added twists to the story, which made the episode a far stretch from the real life case. Among the added fluff is the character of Terry Powell, a Muslim convert who plays the role of Amy Powell’s (Jihad Jane) fiancé and who is the main culprit in attempting to murder a Swedish cartoonist, bomb an airport terminal, and murder Amy Powell’s brother and two random children in the process.
If that wasn’t enough fluff for viewers, the whole focus of the episode became a dispute between the local Deputy District Attorney and the military over where to try the defendants, making comments about the U.S.’s ability to sentence those charged with acts of terrorism in the process.