A 50-year-old grandmother from Indianapolis who was profiled by Fox News in 2010 is back in the news in Germany, where she now lives, for the open support she and her jihadist husband are showing for the Islamic State.
Kathie Smith, who four years ago pleaded that she was a patriotic American just exercising her free speech, has now dropped that pretense. She publicly praises ISIS, the Taliban, and senior Al-Qaeda operatives. Refugees now living in Germany from areas victimized by ISIS were disturbed last summer when Smith and her husband flew the ISIS flag outside their home in Saarbrücken.
Smith first appeared in the media in a December 2010 article by investigative reporter Jana Winter at Fox News after Smith posted a video which included pictures of her and her German husband holding weapons interspersed with pictures of German terrorists. Wrote Winter:
A 46-year-old, blue-eyed grandmother and U.S. citizen from Indiana is under investigation for her possible ties to suspected and convicted international terrorists, FoxNews.com has learned.
Muslim-convert Kathie Smith, 46, of Indianapolis, married a suspected German jihadist tied to the Islamic Jihad Union last year and has been flying back and forth between the U.S. and Germany as recently as two weeks ago.
A pro-jihadist video featuring Smith and her husband is being investigated by the Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center, a threat and counterterror intelligence analysis clearinghouse staffed by law enforcement officials from local and federal agencies, including the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.
“Certainly, it’s being looked at evaluated by Indiana State Police, which runs Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center, ” Indiana Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Emily Norcross told FoxNews.com, adding that the video would be passed along to appropriate law enforcement for further investigation […]
In the nearly six-minute video, under investigation, the Indiana grandmother and her husband, known online as Salahudin Ibn Ja’far, 28, appear posing and hugging and holding weapons interspersed with photos of known and suspected terrorists and assorted jihadist propaganda, like an Awlaki sermon album cover. There are photos of German Taliban Mujahideen and Daniel Martin Schneider, Eric Breininger and Houssain Al-Malla, members of the Saarland cell of Islamic Jihad Union charged with plotting failed terror attacks against U.S. targets in Germany, including Ramstein Air Force Base.
Predictably, “Jihad Kathie” denied any terrorist ties. She painted herself as an America-loving victim just exercising her First Amendment rights when questioned by the local media:
But she also exercised her First Amendment rights by pulling her incriminating YouTube video.
Her cause was picked up by Ryan J. Reilly at Talking Points Memo. He derided Winter’s article, claiming that Fox had “flubbed” the story.
But national terror experts interviewed by local media confirmed the Fox report, saying that “Jihad Kathie” had been on the terror radar for years. Reilly had buried this information halfway down his article. (Reilly, now the Justice reporter at the Huffington Post, made news last summer during the Ferguson riots when he infamously mistook foam earplugs for rubber bullets.)
Now, four-and-a-half years later, there’s no question where this Indiana grandmother’s loyalties lie. The taken name of her husband, Salahudin ibn Ja’far (his real name is Michel Al Rubai), came up in the investigation of 2010 Stockholm suicide bomber Taimour al-Abdaly and also in the 2011 killing of two U.S. Air Force personnel at the Frankfurt airport by Arid Uka. Terror researcher Aaron Weisburd has documented that Salahudin was connected with both Al-Abdaly and Uka. Salahudin also publicly praised Uka for killing the two U.S. airmen.
In May 2011, the jihadist couple was interviewed by Der Spiegel for a segment on Islamist networks in Germany which featured Weisburd’s research on their direct ties to a number of known terrorists. (The interview begins around the 2:00-minute mark):
In the interview, Salahudin justifies the killing of German and American soldiers under Islamic law. Again, “Jihad Kathie” claims she was just exercising her rights, and that the earlier media coverage in the U.S. had brought death threats to her family.
In June 2012, Salahudin was placed on one year of probation by a German court for two videos he had posted inciting violence.
Last summer, the couple attracted the attention of German media by hanging an ISIS flag outside their Saarbrücken apartment as the terror group invaded northern Iraq. The invasion included a campaign of ethnic and religious cleansing targeting Christians, Kurds, and Yazidis.
The Saarbrücken neighborhood they live in is inhabited by a number of Assyrian Christian and Kurdish refugees whose people were being victimized by ISIS at that very time. Local groups protested the provocative act, including the Assyrian Cultural Association. An official of that group told the media:
We Assyrian Christians feel very hurt and concerned that in the middle of the city the sign of mass murder and genocide is publicly displayed directed at our fellow Christians.
Salahudin, a Muslim convert, happens to be a descendant of the Syrian Christians widely persecuted by ISIS.
Despite the open display of their ISIS sympathies being widely discussed in Germany by politicians and the media, no other U.S. outlet has yet mentioned the Indiana expatriate jihadist.
The pair has apparently felt encouraged since receiving local media coverage. Their social media pages are now filled with praise for ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban, as well as incitements to violence. On her YouTube channel, “Jihad Kathie” has posted a video tribute to al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki (who inspired the Ft. Hood massacre), the would-be Underwear Bomber, and to other terrorists:
On her Google Plus page, she declares: “ISLAMIC STATE = ARMY OF TRUTH”:
Also, “All praise to Allah that the Taliban are servants of Allah”:
She also denounced the Marines and the “United Snakes Army” as “the filthiest people walking the planet”:
Salahudin is active on social media as well. In a rambling Facebook post, he declares that the Taliban and al-Qaeda are the “best of Muslims,” and that “if you are a true Muslim you will love the Mujahideen.” He also keeps up with events in his wife’s home country, posting a video of rioters attacking police in Baltimore, and calling on Americans to “WAKE UP and RISE UP”:
Just this week he posted an anti-Shia screed. He posted a news report showing ISIS fighters herding Iraqi soldiers captured from Ramadi, and warning “dirty filthy cursed Shia coward pigs” that “your time is up and you will continue to be slaughtered like sheep!!!”
German media highlighted “Jihad Kathie” and Salahudin, asking: “How real is the danger then in Saarbrücken?”
An international terrorism official told me that Salahudin is on the U.S. no-fly list and also on an international no-fly list. The couple must take ferries, buses, and trains to travel at home or abroad. They are also on a watch list of ISIS supporters who may attempt to travel to Syria to join the terror group.
While Salahudin may not be allowed to enter the U.S., his wife — an American citizen with a valid U.S. passport — can return home at any time, along with — as FBI Director James Comey has publicly said — any other American jihadist who fought with ISIS in Syria and Iraq. What if this homegrown extremist, now transplanted as an ISIS supporter in Germany and nurtured by a known network of international terror supporters, decides to replant herself in “the Crossroads of America?”
As of now, nothing prevents that.