The recent arrest warrant issued by Interpol for Samantha Lewthwaite has fuelled media fuel speculation that she was involved in the attack that killed more than 60 people in Nairobi’s Westgate mall. Since speculation always makes a good story, there has been an overwhelming amount of coverage on the woman dubbed “The White Widow.” The stories seem eerily familiar. Perhaps because, like Colleen LaRose (aka Jihad Jane), Lewthwaite has her own alliterative alias. Or because like Katherine Russell (widow of Tamerlan Tsarnaev), Lewthwaite was once married to a man who became known as a terrorist. In fact, comparing the coverage of Lewthwaite in 2005 to the coverage of Russell, the parallels are striking.
As a CNN article on Lewthwaite puts it:
“British-born Samantha Lewthwaite was once seen as a kind of victim of the July 2005 London terror attacks — the pregnant wife of one of the suicide bombers who killed 52 people, now left alone to care for her children.”
Like Katherine Russell after the Boston bombing last April, Lewthwaite was perceived as a naïve kind-of-victim-widow of 7/7 suicide-bomber Germaine Lindsay following the attacks; however, this seems have changed, at least in the media landscape, in the wake of the confusing, fast-proliferating allegations that she was involved in the assault on the mall in Nairobi. According to Interpol, the warrant was issued in connection with terrorist offences in 2011. However, this seems to have been buried by suggestions that Lewthwaite was one of the leaders of the attack, coming from other sources such as Amina Mohamed, the Kenyan cabinet secretary for foreign affairs, who told the NewsHour program that:
“From the information that we have, two or three Americans [were involved] and I think, so far, I have heard of one Brit … a woman … and I think she has done this many times before.” [Read more...]