Adel Daoud, 18 years old at the time, was busted by the FBI in Chicago as a part of September 2012 sting operation, and a new Human Rights Watch (HRW) report has heartbreaking details about the alleged terrorist.
FBI agents provided the high school student with a fake car bomb he allegedly attempted to detonate by a downtown Chicago bar before being arrested, the Telegraph reported. He could get life in prison if convicted of using a weapon of mass destruction at his November 2014 trial.
Here’s the heartbreaking part of the story — Daoud appears to have a learning disability that severely hindered his social abilities.
His mother implied in an interview with HRW that he never would have been able to carry out such a terror plot without the help of the FBI. In the new HRW report on abuses in U.S. terrorism prosecutions, Daoud’s mother, Mona, said her son was heavily dependent on her, didn’t talk until he was 5, and always required extra assistance in school.
“He’s not the person with a complete mind,” she told HRW. “He doesn’t even talk Arabic, like the rest of our family, because he’s slow.”
The affidavit alleges that Daoud first came to the government’s attention after he made online postings about violent jihad. Once he turned 18 in May of 2012, undercover FBI agents began emailing with him and met with him soon after. In August of that year, Daoud was overheard talking about Jihad at his mosque, but was quickly told to stop talking about such things, according to the HRW report. He then asked his mother about what jihad was.
“He asked ‘what (is) jihad?'” she told HRW. “We tried to explain there is no jihad here. I told him when you give money to the poor, this (is) jihad. When you stay with your mother and father who need you, this is jihad. And he was so convinced, he said, ‘I’ll stay with you mum.'”
It was during an August meeting with an undercover FBI agent that Daoud allegedly showed the agent a list of 29 targets around Chicago he had selected as potential places for the attack, according to the Telegraph.
On Sept. 14, the agent loaded a jeep with fake explosives and drove Daoud to the car’s location, according to the HRW report. His mother insisted he never could’ve pulled off something like this on his own.
“They say he went downtown. He’s never been downtown in his life,” she told HRW, adding that he would even get lost walking to a grocery store less than a mile away.
FBI documents show a major aspect of their investigation was Daoud’s Yahoo Answers account, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The teenager posted roughly 1,500 comments and questions to the site.
In one such post he explained which belief systems he hated the most.
“Hmm. WELL on a personal scale i hate Shiites, Christians, Atheists and then Jews,” he wrote, according to the Sun-Times. He would then go on to write that he hated Shiites’ guts and that he would enjoy watching Christians be thrown in hell, although he did say he found the only two Jewish people he had met to be nice.
However, many of his posts had nothing to do with any radicalism. For instance, he offered advice to a dog owner who didn’t know how to get his dogs to stop eating their own feces, in addition to laughing with another commenter who thought Dora the Explorer was “so hot,” according to the Sun-Times.
Daoud’s lawyers say the First Amendment protects his online postings, and that they shouldn’t have been used against him in the sting operation, the Sun-Times reports.
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