(CBS) – The father of an 18-year-old Aurora man facing a federal terrorism charge insists his son is innocent.
Abdella Ahmad Tounisi was arrested at O’Hare Airport on Friday, allegedly on his way to Syria to join a terrorist organization, the FBI’s Chicago office announced over the weekend. Tounisi thought he had been communicating with a recruiter for a jihadist militant group, but it was actually an FBI agent, the feds said.
Tounisi’s father, also named Ahmad, tells CBS 2 his son is no terrorist.
“My kid is an idealist,” he said Monday outside the family’s Aurora home. “He is the type of kid that would actually give you the shirt off his back. His manners — he’s soft-spoken. He is petite … he never carried a gun in his life.”
“To tell me that he’s going to fight – that’s just farfetched,” the father added.
The younger Tounisi is charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. He is expected to make an appearance in federal court Tuesday morning.
The younger Tounisi was a “close friend” of Adel Daoud, the suspect arrested in September 2012 for allegedly attempting to detonate a bomb outside a Chicago bar, the FBI said.
Tounisi’s father said he asked his son about their friendship and his son replied, “Daddy, that was just talk.”
The elder Tounisi says he believes his son will be found innocent.
“This is just a bad dream,” he said.