18-year-old who tried to blow up bar in court Monday - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

18-year-old who tried to blow up bar appears in court

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The 18-year-old Hillside man accused of planning to blow up a downtown Chicago bar appeared in federal court Monday.

Adel Daoud was arrested Friday night.

SEE: 18-year-old charged with trying to blow up downtown bar

The FBI said he tried to detonate a fake bomb that undercover federal agents gave him, in an investigation that began in May.

Daoud was targeting U.S. citizens because of what he called American abuses overseas, and because he said the U.S. is "at war with Islam and Muslims."

Authorities did not disclose the name of the bar in question.

But the owner of Cal's Bar and Liquors on South Wells said his bar was the target establishment.

The feds won't say which downtown bar a suburban teen wanted to blow up Friday night — but Mike Feirstein is convinced it was his.

Feirstein, whose family owns Cal's Bar and Liquors at 400 S. Wells, said there were about 20 people inside when the car bomb was allegedly supposed to go off.

Dozens more were in a neighboring bar. Both sit just outside the southwest corner of the Loop, only yards from the elevated CTA tracks.

Feirstein and his co-workers said they didn't see Adel Daoud, the man federal authorities allege was the bomber intent on engaging in violent jihad.

But they saw enough Friday night to know Cal's was the target.

Approximately 15 undercover agents wearing earpieces surrounded the bar around 8 p.m., said Chris Meadows, a Cal's bartender.

They were surrounding a Jeep Cherokee parked outside. A tarp was draped over the back of the SUV, covering the tailgate area, he said.

When revealing charges against the 18-year-old Daoud of west suburban Hillside, federal authorities said he pressed a button that he thought would detonate a bomb-laden Jeep Cherokee outside a downtown bar in an alleged Islamicist plot. The bomb in the back was a fake, built by the FBI, however, prosecutors said.

"We assumed that they were Chicago cops," Feirstein said of the swarm of plainclothes investigators.

Meadows added, "I was smoking a cigarette outside and looking at the Jeep when they told me that I was interfering with police business and asked me to leave the scene — I thought they were doing a regular sting on underage drinkers."

The agents, who were also recovering evidence from a parking lot nearby at Franklin and Van Buren, didn't tell Cal's staff what they were doing, Feirstein, 52, said.

But after reading about the alleged terror plot and how it had targeted a downtown bar, liquor store and music venue with a Jeep Cherokee, Meadows said "there's no question in my mind that we were the target."

Feirstein also said he "tied it all together" after reading the federal complaint against Daoud Saturday.

The complaint says Daoud wrote in an email that he'd picked his target because "It's a bar, it's a liquor store, it's a concert. All in one bundle."

Cal's has a bar and a liquor store and was hosting performances by two local bands Friday night. It is also next door to another bar, Cactus, where drinkers were sitting outside Friday night.

According to the complaint, Daoud selected his target because alcohol was being served, which is against the Muslim religion, and because many people would be there. The target would be filled with "the evilest people . . . all the kuffars are there," he allegedly wrote.

Feirstein, whose family has owned the venue for 47 years, laughed at that. "The evilest of the evil?" he said. "He's maybe the most ignorant of the ignorant."

He speculated that the bar's Jewish ownership may also have figured in the apparent decision to target it.

Cal's — just a stone's throw from the federal courtroom where Daoud is due to appear Monday — "was in a lull between the after work crowd and the bands that played later," he added.

Kate Stone, 23, a drummer in the all-female metal band "Violet Kill," played at Cal's later Friday night. She was shocked to learn she may have been among the targets. "I don't understand how you could hate people you know nothing about," she said.

"It's a small venue and it was packed — if it had really happened it would have been awful."

Meadows agreed, noting that Cal's is underneath L tracks and across the street from a fire station. "We're at the center of a lot of things," he said.

Daoud, who had been the target of an undercover investigation for months after allegedly becoming radicalized on the Internet, worshipped at the Islamic Foundation mosque in Villa Park and graduated from the school attached to the mosque, the mosque's Vice Chairman Arshad Zaheer said Sunday.

According to the criminal complaint, Daoud claimed he had recently clashed with his imam over his beliefs. His imam had "yelled" at him and told him to stop discussing violent jihad at the mosque, the complaint states. A second imam also tried to convince him violent jihad was wrong, the complaint states.

Zaheer said Daoud had been "brainwashed" and misled. But the imam who'd challenged him, Shaykh Abdool Rahman Kahn, recently left the mosque, he said.

Daoud's family on Saturday insisted he isn't violent and cast doubt on the allegations. And at least one worshipper at the mosque said he finds it laughable that Daoud posed a security threat.

"He was intellectually challenged and he seemed a lot younger than 18," said Junaid Ahmed, 36. "He was told to stop talking about that garbage."

Ahmed said he saw Daoud daily at the mosque during Ramadan and found him "sweet" and easily-led, though Daoud never discussed terrorism in his presence. He repeatedly had to be told to be quiet while other worshippers were praying, Ahmed said.

Asked if he believed Daoud could have built a bomb without the FBI's help, Ahmed laughed. "He was retarded," Ahmed said. "I'm not a doctor, but I'd bet my life that he couldn't."

In court, Daoud's attorney said that federal undercover agents may have improperly lured his client into the act.

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 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 apparently wooed Daoud into participating by telling him a fictitious religious leader overseas wanted him to engage in terrorism. Durkins says that contradicted the teen's own imams' instructions not to engage in violence.

"I've never seen that before," said Durkin, who has represented similar such cases in Chicago. "I find it rather astounding."

Daoud was arrested Friday after allegedly trying to set off a triggering device that was part of a fake mechanism set up by FBI agents as a part of a sting. The U.S. Attorney's Office has said that the device was harmless and the public was never at risk.

The FBI has used similar tactics in counterterrorism investigations, deploying undercover agents to engage suspects in talk of terror plots and then provide fake explosive devices.

In 2010, a Lebanese immigrant took what he thought was a bomb and dropped it into a trash bin near Chicago's Wrigley Field. In a 2009 case, agents provided a Jordanian man with a fake truck bomb that he used to try to blow up a 60-story office tower in Dallas.

Judge Arlander Keys delayed a ruling Monday on whether to grant bond for Daoud, saying he would decide the matter at another hearing Thursday.

Durkin questioned how federal agents apparently approached Daoud after discovering he was active in jihadist Internet forum.

"I've had terrorism cases," Durkin said. "This doesn't smell like a terrorism case. There's something wrong with it."

Prosecutors did not speak to reporters after Monday's hearing. But in filings, prosecutors said Daoud was offered several chances to change his mind and walk away from the plot.

Daoud walked into court with his legs and arms shackled. He sported a thin beard and thick, curly, shoulder-length hair. He smiled as he whispered to his attorney and fidgeted with his jumpsuit as he stood before the judge.

Daoud's father, Ahmed Daoud, began weeping as he tried to approach his son, a U.S. marshal stepping between the two and telling the father he wasn't allowed to speak with the teen.

"Salam," Adel Daoud said in a soft voice to his father as marshals led him away. Salam is an Arabic word for peace.

The father pounded his hand on a door frame as he left the room, and acquaintances tried to console him.

"I can't see my son. It's not fair," Ahmed Daoud said.

Durkin also said his client is immature for his age. Counselors from the Chicago-area school he graduated from earlier this year, the Islamic Foundation School, described him as "socially awkward," Durkin said.

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