Chicago Arrests Sign of Growing Homegrown Jihad

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\WASHINGTON - Two Chicago Muslim men have been arrested and charged with plotting terrorist attacks overseas.

Prosecutors say one of the men had scouted out potential targets in Denmark and were with al Qaeda-linked groups.

The arrests are the latest sign of a growing trend in the country - homegrown jihad.

Six months and seven major terrorist plots broken up by federal authorities in the United States. The latest arrests in Chicago come just one week after a Massachusetts man was arrested and charged with attempting to attack American targets at home and abroad.

Prosecutors say the suspected terrorists in the Windy City case had no intention to strike on U.S. soil. But David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana did allegedly have contact with al-Qaeda linked terrorist groups in Pakistan.

Headley traveled to Denmark twice in the past year to scout out potential targets, according to prosecutors. An FBI affidavit says Headley, a U.S. citizen and convert to Islam, was enraged by cartoons of Islam's prophet Mohammed published in a Danish newspaper in 2005. He was looking to murder the men responsible for those cartoons.

Headley told FBI agents that he received training in Pakistan from Lakshar-e-Taiba, the al-Qaeda linked terror group behind the jihadist massacre in Mumbai, India in November 2008.

Headley's accomplice, Rana, has been charged with helping to arrange Headley's travels and concealing the real reason for his frequent trips. Rana is a Pakistani native and Canadian citizen who owns several Chicago-area businesses.

Both men are charged with plotting to provide material support to a foreign terrorism conspiracy, a charge that could net them 15 years each in prison.

Headley is also charged with conspiracy to commit terrorist acts involving murder and maiming outside the U.S. if convicted, he could face life in prison.    

 

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Erick Stakelbeck

Erick Stakelbeck

CBN News Correspondent

Erick Stakelbeck is a sought after authority on terrorism and national security issues with extensive experience in television, radio, and print media. Stakelbeck is a correspondent and terrorism analyst for CBN News.  Follow Erick on Twitter @Staks33.