Lisa Smith had an avatar on her Facebook page which indicated she was a follower of ISIS, according to a Muslim woman who testified at the Special Criminal Court.

The 39-year-old former member of the Defence Forces pleaded not guilty today to two charges of membership of ISIS and financing terrorism between 2015 and 2019.

The first witness for the prosecution, Una McCartney, said she was a friend of Lisa Smith for many years when they both lived in Dundalk.

She described her as "naive and easily taken in" and said Ms Smith was "looking for a sense of belonging" which she may have found through Islam.

She also said Ms Smith's upbringing had been difficult due to her father, whom the witness described as a violent alcoholic.

Gillian McNichols, a member of the Dundalk Islamic Community, told the court she had only met Lisa Smith once but connected online to her and "other sisters around the world".

She said she checked her Facebook page and saw an avatar of a man on a horse holding up an Islamic State flag which she said means someone or a group is following this particular ideology.

The court also heard from Nooh Buye, the Imam in Dundalk, who testified that one Friday in the mosque an Irish lady who married a Muslim brother from Dundalk needed a blessing and he asked everyone at the service to pray for them.

The Imam said he found out later that the woman was Lisa Smith but agreed with Defence Counsel Michael O’Higgins that he never spoke to Ms Smith.

Earlier, prosecuting counsel Sean Gillane said that Lisa Smith had "self-identified as a member" of ISIS and that the prosecution intends to show that Ms Smith told another woman she wanted to live under Sharia law and was prepared to die a martyr.

In his opening statement, he outlined in detail the history of the Middle East and the emergence of ISIS as a terrorist organisation in Iraq and Syria.

Ms Smith, he said, converted to Islam in 2011 and left the Defence Forces after she was refused permission to wear a hijab.

Lisa Smith "enveloped herself in the black flag" of the terrorist organisation Islamic State (ISIS) by emigrating to its territory and subscribing to its allegiance and protection.

Mr Gillane said she then began communicating with others online and became an administrator on a private group "we hear, we obey", which hosted discussions and posts on Jihad and the obligations of women.

The court heard she also communicated on Telegram which was perceived to be more secure and responded to an ISIS video depicting the drowning of five men in a cage with the words "OK now I understand why they were drowned - I didn't know the other side of the story".

The court heard Lisa Smith began her trip to Syria in 2015, lied to her family about her true destination and arrived in Raqqa, the de facto capital of the Islamic State.

She made it clear to her family she wanted to stay there, divorced and married a man who worked border control for ISIS, advising him to do a snipers course and had a daughter in 2017.

Mr Gillane said as ISIS began to lose territory, Ms Smith was running with them, not away from them.

When arrested and interviewed by gardaí, she denied joining or being a member of a terrorist organisation or doing anything to benefit a terrorist group.

However, the prosecution said that membership of ISIS can be adduced by her conduct, associations and state of mind, including acts of allegiance or a pledge of loyalty to the leader.

Counsel told the court that Ms Smith specifically addressed, assessed and answered the call to migrate to the territory controlled by ISIS. Every inch of that territory was won over by targeted terrorist violence.

The prosecution said that to answer that call of Hijrah (Migration) is to self-identify as a member of that group as the group puts itself in its publication - "No life without life and no Jihad without Hijrah."

Mr Gillane also said the prosecution is not suggesting she used arms or armed herself during that time.

However, he said it is the prosecution's case that Ms Smith subscribed to allegiance and protection and enveloped herself in the standard or black flag of IS.

"She remained there, married there and her movements mirror the retrenchment of the group when it began to lose territory," he said.

The trial before Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, with Judge Gerard Griffin and Judge Cormac Dunne continues tomorrow.

It is expected to last up to 12 weeks.