Streeterville man 'obsessed' with jihad, prosecutors say

June 7, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Masri is the Streeterville man arrested almost two years ago on charges that he was headed on a suicide mission to Somalia.

In newly filed court documents, federal prosecutors say that Masri is obsessed with what he sees as an Islamic religious command to execute a suicide mission against his fellow Americans. That is just one of several new allegations leveled against Masri, who has been in jail since the FBI arrested him on the way to Midway Airport in August 2010.

During the two years federal officers had a tail on Masri, records suggest they knew he was a foreign terrorist sympathizer, but they didn't know precisely what he planned to do.

In the nearly two years since Masri was locked up without bond at the Metro Correctional Center in Chicago, federal agents have continued digging into his past. In response to a motion from Masri's attorneys that he be freed on bond until trial in September, the government has now filed a document that paints a much more damning picture of the American terror suspect.

"He wanted to die killing others," say prosecutors, "an offense that could only be committed once -- dying as a suicide bomber...using himself as a weapon of mass destruction."

For the first time, authorities have revealed what they claim to have found on Masri's personal computer, a device they say he was trying to destroy when arrested.

There were jihadist and other holy war propaganda videos on the computer, according to federal agents, along with electronic versions of several terrorist books, including:

  • 39 Ways to Serve and Participate in Jihad
  • The Islamic Ruling on the Permissibility of Self-Sacrificial Operations: Suicide or Martyrdom?
  • and Osama bin Laden's 1996 manifesto against America, Declaration of War Against the Americans.

In the court filing, U.S. prosecutors state, "Masri characterized the justification for his criminal intent as a religious command" ... was "obsessed" with the concepts of jihad and martyrdom, and if released from custody, Masri allegedly told a cellmate he would stay in the United States to "make a statement that the whole world would hear."

Masri's attorneys did manage to get him out of solitary confinement two weeks ago. He had been held there essentially since being arrested because officials at the federal lockup said he would try to recruit other prisoners into radicalism.

Now defense lawyers say Masri should also be allowed to post bond, and a cousin in Aurora is willing to put him up.

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