Adel Daoud, a U.S. citizen, saw his plans all turn to crap when the fellow jihadists he thought he was talking to online turned out to be FBI agents, the car bomb he set off outside a Chicago bar turned out to be a dud and he ended up behind bars instead of getting his glory plotting more death to Americans.
Daoud is in jail waiting for his preliminary hearings in federal court Monday. He faces a statutory maximum sentence of life in prison for attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and a mandatory minimum of five-to-20 years in prison for attempting to damage or destroy a building with a bomb.
Here’s what we know about him.
1. The Arrest Surprised His Family
Daoud’s older brother, Amr, 21, said Adel is a very devout Muslim, reports the New York Times. He said the younger man went to the mosque every day at 4 a.m. with their father for prayers. Their parents came to the United States from Egypt, but Amr says neither they or his two sisters are religious.
2. He Wanted to be a Sheik
Amr, a cigar salesman, says his younger brother graduated from high school but didn’t have a job, so he wanted to go to school in Canada to learn to be a sheik, or a Muslim religious official, and he’s a peaceful person.
“He’s a very peaceful guy; I never even knew him to be violent. One time he got punched in school and he didn’t do anything. He’s a very passive person.”
3. He Had a List of 29 Targets
FBI agents said Daoud wanted to target military recruiting centers, bars, malls and other Chicago-area tourist attractions. After he researched the bar this weekend, he planned what he thought would be a bombing. But Gary Shapiro, the acting U.S. attorney in Illinois, told the Chicago Tribune there was no danger to anyone — except to Daoud’s freedom, that is, after he was left holding a dead bomb and we imagine, a surprised look on his face.
4. Authorities Knew About Him Since Last Year
Daoud was only 17 when authorities learned about him in October 2011. He was sending e-mails out “relating to violent jihad and the killing of Americans,” says the government’s affidavit. It didn’t take long, just until the following May — when most kids are planning to go to prom — for undercover FBI agents to get hold of him. He told them he wanted to engage “in violent jihad, either in the United States or overseas.”
5. He Prayed on the Way to the Bar
The federal statement said Daoud prayed all the way to the set-up attack, hoping it would succeed, cause a lot of destruction and kill many Americans.
6. He Knew Not to Try on Sept. 11
While he was researching violent jihad online, Daoud posted on a web forum in June that he knew 9/11 was off limits, but asked advice about other dates that the Quran allows Americans to be killed.
7. Of Course, the Neighbors Think He’s a Nice Boy
Dorothy Leverson, a Southern Baptist who has lived around the corner from the Daouds for about 10 years, told the Tribune Adel and Amr often came to hang out with her twin boys, who are also 18 years old. She said Adel is intelligent, kind, and a computer whiz. But he recently committed himself more to Islam and started wearing traditional garments — but while the boys talked religion, they didn’t fight over it.
“He was still friendly with my son. It wasn’t like he had made a complete turn. It was never anything like, ‘We hate Americans.’”
8. His Dad Tried to Talk Him Out of Jihad
Daoud’s father and a religious leader at the mosque they attended confronted him just last month, trying to convince him violent jihad is wrong and telling him that he should stop talking about it. Another person backed out because he had reservations about killing random Americans. So, while Daoud’s brother seems a bit surprised — his dad knew something was up.
9. He Liked to Read Articles by Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki
Daoud not only liked to talk in jihadist Internet forums, but he was reading articles by U.S.-born Anwar al-Awlaki, a key figure in al-Qaida, says the Associated Press. Al-Awlaki was taken out in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen last year.
10. The FBI Holds These Stings A Lot
Sorry FBI, but it’s unamerican to keep setting people up with fake bombs and not make it into a reality show. huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/2012… via@pbump
— Mike McCaffrey (@mikemccaffrey) September 15, 2012
Just like on that TV show about catching predators, the FBI catches a lot of these would-be jihadists online and tricks them into carrying fake bombs. Last year, the FBI hooked up with anarchists who wanted to hit targets and bridges in Cleveland, supplying them with fake explosives. They did the same thing to Amine El Khalifi in February for planning for planning to blow up targets in Virginia. Giving him a dummy suicide vest and a fake gun. Sneaky people, those FBI agents.