A Chicago-area teenager accused of trying to reach Syria to join ISIS was ordered to remain behind bars pending his trial on terrorism charges after prosecutors revealed that his 17-year-old sister and 16-year-old brother were with him when he was arrested last month.
Mohammed Hamzah Khan, 19, of suburban Bolingbrook, Illinois, will remain in custody because he poses a danger to his community and is a flight risk, U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Cox of the Northern District of Illinois ruled Monday at a detention hearing in Chicago. She also stated that his writings show he is "not stable," according to a producer for NBCChicago.com who attended the hearing.
Prosecutors didn't name the minors, who have not been charged with any crime, but said that they, like their brother, had expressed a passion for committing violence through “barbaric rhetoric” and intended to act on it. They also stated that Khan had purchased their tickets and obtained their passports so they could fly with him to Turkey.
In arguing against bail, Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Hiller offered 21 exhibits to support the government’s contention that Khan is a "danger to his community" who has "been radicalized… and is not is just a misguided teenager."
Khan’s attorney, Tom Durkin, responded by arguing that the case "can’t really be classified as an attempt to provide material support (to terrorists), when they were stopped at O”Hare."
Click here to explore interactive map with details of the cases of the dozen U.S. residents -- 11 of them Americans -- accused of trying to join the fight in Iraq or Syria as well as the three Americans confirmed to have died in the fighting.
"He’s a 19-year-old kid. We can’t give up on these kids because they had bad thoughts and didn’t like filth," he said, repeatedly insisting that Khan and his siblings were just going to travel to Syria to live in religious caliphate in order to "fulfill religious obligations."
Khan was arrested on Oct. 4, 2014, at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport as he was headed to Istanbul, Turkey, after which he intended to travel to Syria or Iraq to fight for ISIS, authorities said. He is charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and has not yet entered a plea.
A criminal complaint states that Khan told federal agents that he met an unidentified individual online who provided him with a contact to call when he got to Istanbul. That person was to take him to Syria or Iraq.
According to an affidavit, federal agents searched Khan's home and recovered handwritten documents expressing support for ISIS and a letter to his parents outlining his plans. “Please make sure to not tell the authorities for if this were to happen it will jeopardize not only the safety of us but our family as well," it said.
According to the affidavit, Khan also was upset that he was obligated to pay taxes that would be used to kill his “Muslim brothers and sisters."