Terrorism continues to be a threat around the world, and multiple acts have been carried out in recent years on American soil. The public has become aware of the risk, and many people are especially concerned about the dangers posed by the radical Islamic group known as the Islamic State. In an effort to combat terrorism and protect American citizens, a number of arrests have been made in recent months. An example is found in the federal charges brought against a Pennsylvania woman whom authorities claim was planning to join the Islamic State.
The woman, a 30-year-old citizen of the United States, was arrested at her Philadelphia home, which she shares with her mother and grandmother. Authorities claim that she was preparing to travel to Syria to engage in an act of martyrdom. She allegedly communicated with a Syrian-based Islamic State fighter, and when asked if she would like to participate in a martyrdom operation, said that such an opportunity "would be amazing."
The woman is said to have posted messages and photos on social media sites that appear to support acts of terrorism. She applied for her passport in February and purchased a ticket to fly to Barcelona. Following her recent arrest, she is charged with providing material aid to terrorists.
Federal charges related to terrorism are very serious and can carry lengthy prison sentences if a conviction is achieved. In this case, there is no report of specific actions that would provide material support to a terror group, although additional details may surface in the weeks and months ahead. For this Pennsylvania woman, the center of her criminal defense strategy may include an explanation of her actions and why they are protected by her right to free speech and do not equate to an act of terrorism.
Source: theintell.com, "Philadelphia woman charged with trying to help IS group", April 3, 2015