A jury issued its guilty verdict yesterday against the only known living terrorist connected to the May 3, 2015 attack on the Muhammad Art exhibit in Garland, Texas. Although he had been raised Baptist and has the given name of “Decarus Thomas,” Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem was a convert to Islam.
The jury took almost three days to reach their verdict in the federal district court in Phoenix, Arizona.
The eight women and four men found Kareem guilty of planning and aiding the two men who were shot to death fifteen seconds after they reached the Texas event. The pair showed up at the education center in their car and came out blazing with AK-47s and sporting grenades.
Kareem is accused of being involved in the planning of the attack at the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest in Garland at the Curtis Culwell Center. The Curtis Culwell Center is part of the Garland Independent School District and is a gun-free zone. Garland is a suburb of Dallas, Texas.
Prosecutors charged that Kareem provided the firearms to the two men who tried to carry out the plan. He also housed them and helped trained them by taking them to target shooting practice in the desert. The three men attended the same mosque in Phoenix.
The indictment alleged that “the three men became interested in violent jihad and the foreign terrorist organization the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).” It also says, “The three men watched and read ISIL-related videos and other materials relating to ISIL and violent jihad and expressed their support for the terrorist organization.” “On or about 2014” the three “began conspiring to support ISIL.”
In July 2015, Pamela Geller, the art exhibit’s organizer, wrote an article revealing information about the Phoenix mosque, as well as other mosques that have been attended by terrorists. She said Ibrahim (formerly Elton) Simpson and Nadir Soofi, were members of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix. She also wrote that Simpson’s friend Courtney Lonergan remembers, according to the Arizona Republic, that “Simpson would never waver from the teachings he picked up in the mosque and elsewhere.” Lonergan said, “He was one of those guys who would sleep at the mosque. The fact that he felt personally insulted by somebody drawing a picture had to come from the ideological rhetoric coming out of the mosque.”
During closing arguments, prosecutor Joseph Koehler accused Kareem saying, “He was a motivator. He was a bankroller. He was a trainer and an intended participant.” Koehler noted that the two men printed out an ISIS flag and brought it to the art exhibit. “They want to announce to the world that we are here on behalf of ISIS,” he told the jury. “He knew exactly what was going on with these folks.”
The two terrorists who showed up at the event, Elton Francis Simpson and Nadir Hamid Soofi, drove to the Culwell Center in Garland from Phoenix. They quickly stopped near the building, got out of their car, and used assault rifles to shoot at security personnel and police officers.
Participants of the event, spectators, and news media covering the event, including three Breitbart Texas writers, were inside the building just yards from where the terrorists parked their car when they arrived.
Simpson and Soofi were shot and killed by Garland police officers within fifteen seconds of getting out of their car. A security guard was also shot in the ankle during the process. The attack was reported by Breitbart Texas.
Breitbart News’ AWR Hawkins reported that “their attack was cut down by good guys with guns who were there to stop bad guys.”
The terrorist attack in Garland has been referred to as a “jihad against free speech,” as reported by Breitbart News.
The terrorist group ISIS claimed credit for the attack at the art exhibit and contest, as reported by Breitbart Texas. The group called the gunmen “soldiers of the caliphate” and promised more attacks would follow. The message was transmitted in an audio statement through the group’s Al Bayan radio station, according to an AP report published on the ABC13 News website in Houston. It was not clear if the shooters were acting under direct orders from the Islamic State, or if they pledged their allegiance to ISIS and then acted on their own.
One day after the attack, Breitbart News reported that approximately 200 Muslims in Pakistan held a gathering to honor the jihadis who tried to carry out the Garland terror attack.
Kareem was indicted in December 2015 on five counts: (1) Conspiracy; (2) Interstate Transportation of Firearms with Intent to Commit a Felony; (3) Making False Statements; (4) Felon in Possession of Firearm; and (5) Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
The alleged terrorist also stood accused of lying about injuries he allegedly sustained while in an automobile accident in order to get insurance money to use to fund the attack.
Kareem testified that he told Simpson he could no longer live in his home because he thought Simpson was putting tracking devices on his car.
Kareem was also said to have assessed an Islamic State database of U.S. military servicemen and women’s home addresses, as reported by the New York Daily News, and of planning an attack at Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona. As reported by the New York Times, a former roommate testified that Kareem asked him where he could get explosives to blow up the stadium. The Times also reported that the prosecution introduced testimony from experts on terrorism that detailed the recruitment methods used by terrorists, including the Islamic State.
Kareem will be sentenced on June 27. He faces a possible sentence of up to 45 years in prison.