Court documents don’t indicate that 26-year-old Shaker Masri had any contacts with the Al Qaeda-affiliated Al Shabab, global jihadist organization. He didn’t have any weapons and didn’t have substantial money. What he had, according to his criminal complaint, was a desire to join them and a plan to get to Somalia so he could. FBI Special Agent Ross Rice says he is part of a growing trend both locally in the mid-west and nationally.
Federal authorities arrested Masri hours before he was scheduled to leave Chicago’s Midway airport, en route to Los Angeles. From LA he planned to drive to Mexico. He believed from Mexico he could travel to Somalia with less scrutiny.
Masri faces two charges: Attempting to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization and attempting to provide that support through the use of a weapon of mass destruction.
In this case, the weapon of mass destruction is defined as a suicide bomb. The criminal complaint says Masri told a federal informant that he wanted to become a “Martyr” by wearing a suicide vest. “I wish to know how to [sic] the explosive belt is made…I will wear one and I will not take it off.”
If convicted, Masri faces a maximum of 15 years in prison for each count. He is currently being held in Chicago’s Metropolitan Correctional Center without bond pending a hearing on Monday, July 9th.