You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

IS 'Aust recruit' fears US poll backlash

AAP logoAAP 23/08/2016 By Peter Mitchell, AAP US Correspondent

A former Australian resident accused of attempting to join Islamic State fears he will not get a fair trial in Texas because of pre-US election "anti-Muslim rhetoric".

Asher Khan, 21, faces a trial in Houston on September 27.

Khan, who lived in Sydney and allegedly worked with Australian IS recruiter Mohamed Zuhbi on a plan to join the terror group in Syria, faces life in prison if convicted of charges including conspiring to provide material support to IS and conspiring to commit murder in a foreign country.

Khan's lawyer, Thomas Berg, has asked for the trial to be held after the November 8 presidential and congressional elections.

"The prospect of selecting an impartial jury is daunting enough in a terrorism case but this close upon the general election in November, with some candidates engaging in virulent anti-Muslim rhetoric (Mr Khan is Muslim) and unmitigated bellicosity about ISIS/ISIL, jury selection seems problematic," Mr Berg wrote in a filing to the US District Court.

"This is not an issue with the more mundane cases counsel has set for trial.

"For these reasons Mr Khan moves the court to reset trial in this case until after the November elections."

US prosecutors have opposed the trial delay.

Mr Berg, who declined to comment to AAP on Tuesday, does not single out any politicians in his filing.

However, the Republican Party's nominee for president, Donald Trump, in December called for a ban on all foreign Muslims entering the US and earlier this month in a speech on fighting terrorism he vowed to defeat "the hateful ideology of radical Islam".

With 469 seats also up for grabs in Congress on November 8, protecting America from IS has been one of the leading topics among candidates.

Prosecutors allege while Khan was living with relatives in Sydney in 2013 and 2014 he contacted a "known Syrian-based jihadi leader" via Twitter and asked: "How can I join the mujahideen?"

Khan also allegedly recruited his Texas-based friend Sixto Garcia to fight for IS.

"While recruiting and radicalising Garcia, Khan, who was still in Australia, discovered Mohamed Zuhbi, a known ISIL foreign fighter facilitator," prosecutors allege.

Khan, from Sydney, and Garcia, from Houston, flew to Turkey in February 2014, but Khan was "duped" by his family into returning to Texas with a story his mother was critically ill, prosecutors alleged.

Zuhbi allegedly took Garcia into Syria and after attending an IS training camp Garcia's mother received a message suggesting her son had died while fighting.

Khan was arrested in Houston.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon