Philly Native On Trial in Texas “Draw Muhammad” Attack
A Philadelphia native has gone on trial in Texas, accused of helping plot a deadly shooting attack against a “Draw Muhammad” contest in May of last year.
Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, 44, is accused of being “the bankroller, the trainer and the motivator” in the attack, the New York Times reports. The two actual gunmen — Elton Simpson, 30, and Nadir Soofi, 34 — were shot and killed during the incident at Garland, Texas. Kareem’s lawyers said he was unaware of the attack until it took place.
Kareem was born and raised in Philadelphia as Decarus Lowell Thomas, and described by his lawyers this week as the son of a Philadelphia Police officer. He converted to Islam and changed his name in 2013.
KHOU reports that prosecutors described Kareem as increasingly radicalized, watching ISIS beheading videos, cheering on the Charlie Hebdo terror attack in France, and generally “soaking in ISIS propaganda.” He was living in Arizona at the time of the Texas attack.
Kareem’s brother, James Newman, told NBC10 last year that his brother is patriotic.
“My brother is not a terrorist, he loves the Philadelphia Phillies, he loves cookouts, he loves the red white and blue, just because he’s Islamic doesn’t mean he is an enemy of our country,” Newman said.
Kareem faces two counts of conspiracy, as well as single counts of transporting firearms and ammunition over state lines, being a felon in possession of firearms and lying to investigators about his role in the Garland attack. The trial is expected to last five weeks.