(TheBlaze/AP) — An attorney for an Illinois teenager charged with trying to ignite what he thought was a car bomb outside of a Chicago bar said Monday that his client is just an “immature kid,” and that agents may have improperly lured his client by telling him fictitious Islamic religious leaders condone violence.
The defense lawyer spoke to reporters after 18-year-old Adel Daoud, a U.S. citizen from the Chicago suburb of Hillside, made an initial appearance in a federal court.
Daoud was arrested Friday after allegedly trying to set off a fake bomb that was set up by FBI agents as a part of a sting. He faces charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to damage and destroy a building with an explosive.
Thomas Durkin says agents wooed Daoud into participating by posing as terrorists and telling him imams overseas wanted him to engage in terrorism — contradicting instructions from the teen’s imams that such violence runs counter to Islamic teachings.
“The government played the imam card,” said Durkin, who has represented detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
Durkin questioned how federal agents approached Daoud after discovering he was active in a jihadist Internet forum, saying it wasn’t clear Daoud harbored any desire to launch an attack until agents reached out.
“I’ve had terrorism cases,” Durkin said. “This doesn’t smell like a terrorism case. There’s something wrong with it.”
Reuters, however, relates:
According to an FBI affidavit, Daoud used email accounts starting in about October 2011 to gather and send materials “relating to violent jihad and the killing of Americans.”
Two undercover FBI employees began corresponding with Daoud in May, exchanging several electronic messages with him in which he expressed an interest in “engaging in violent jihad, either in the United States or overseas,” the affidavit said.
From late May to mid-June, Daoud sought guidance on whether to carry out an attack in the United States, then sought online resources on how to carry out an attack, the affidavit said. [Emphasis added]
Prosecutors didn’t speak to reporters after Monday’s hearing. But in filings, they said Daoud was offered several chances to walk away from the plot.
Daoud’s father, Ahmed Daoud, began weeping as he tried to approach his son — a U.S. marshal stepped between them and told the elder Daoud he wasn’t allowed to speak with the teen.
“Salam,” Adel Daoud reportedly said in a soft voice to his father as marshals led him away. Salam is an Arabic word for peace.
The Chicago-born teen aspired to study Arabic, which he can’t speak fluently, Durkin said, and Adel Daoud grew up in an ethnically mixed, middle-class neighborhood.
In his conversations with the agent, Daoud explained his reasons for wanting an attack, saying the United States was at war “with Islam and Muslims,” the affidavit said.
The document says he was trying to recruit others and was confronted by leaders of his mosque who warned he should stop. The affidavit said Daoud’s father was aware of his son’s discussions and told him to stop talking about it.
Describing Daoud as “socially very awkward,” Durkin reportedly admitted that “if the government is to be believed” the suspect has been spreading “nonsense” on the Internet.
“Does that make him a terrorist?” he asked with Daoud’s father standing behind him. “I don’t know.”
(H/T: Daily Mail)