An 18-year-old Chicagoan was arrested last week by the FBI for attempting to detonate what he believed was a car bomb outside a bar in downtown Chicago. The plot was apparently intended as retaliation for America’s perceived war with Islam and “oppression against Muslims.”
Adel Daoud was arrested after trying to set off a fake device set up by FBI agents as a part of a sting operation. Federal authorities began monitoring Daoud in October 2011, after discovering his radical posts on Jihadist Internet forums.
His online activity included sending friends copies of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s English-language terrorist magazine, Inspire, in order to “brainwash them.” On one online extremist forum, Daoud described Inspire as “the best magazine I have read.”
He also shared recorded lectures by Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born Muslim cleric killed in Yemen last year, and a video by American terrorist Omar Hammami, an Alabama native who became the public face and voice of Al Shabaab, the Al Qaeda affiliate in Somalia.
According to the FBI affidavit, Daoud also used the internet to research justifications for suicide bombings and attacks on civilians. In May of this year, federal authorities began communicating with Daoud online and by July, undercover agents were meeting with him in person.
During the course of the FBI investigation, according to the affidavit, Daoud expressed his desire to carry out attacks in the United States and to travel abroad to join terrorist groups overseas, in particular in Yemen. Daoud allegedly applied for a new passport in March 2012.
Before settling on the bar, Daoud presented a list of proposed targets, including military instillations, concerts, malls and tourist attractions. According to a recorded conversation with the undercover agent, Daoud alluded to the fact that Muslims shouldn’t be at a bar, and if they are, they deserve what they get.
“I want [to do] something that’s gonna make it in the news,” he said, according to the affidavit. “If it’s only like five, ten people, I’m not gonna feel that good.”
One of Daoud’s friends was allegedly involved in the plot as well, but dropped out after being confronted by the sheikh at the mosque they attended.
Daoud has been charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and an explosives violation. He faces a maximum punishment of life in prison.