US & Canada

US man gets 30 years for helping plot IS attack in Texas

Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem also known as Decarus Thomas is pictured in this undated booking photo provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. Image copyright Reuters

An Arizona man has been convicted of providing support to so-called Islamic State for helping two men in an attempted attack in Texas in 2015.

Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, an American-born Muslim convert, was sentenced to 30 years for what a judge called an "extraordinarily serious" crime.

His two friends were shot dead after opening fire at an event that featured cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

A security guard was wounded but no-one else was injured in the attack.

Kareem is the second person in the US to be convicted of charges supporting the so-called Islamic State (IS) group.

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Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi were killed in a police shoot-out outside the conference in Garland, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, two years ago.

The event, organised by a group critical of Islam, included a contest for drawings of the Prophet Muhammad - such pictorial depictions are considered forbidden by many Muslims.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The conference centre was locked down after the shooting

Prosecutors said Kareem had watched jihadist videos depicting violence with Simpson and Soofi, encouraged them to plot an attack to support the terrorist group and researched travel to the Middle East to join IS fighters.

'Not an outside participant'

Kareem told Judge Susan Bolton he "had nothing to do with this crime". He said he did not know his friends had been planning to attack the conference and only found out about the shooting after they were killed.

He also told jurors at his trial last year that he did not approve of Simpson using his laptop to watch al-Qaeda promotional videos.

But prosecutor Kristen Brook argued Kareem had played an active role in helping attempt mass murder.

"That just doesn't make him an outside participant or fringe guy," she said.

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Media captionPolice officer describes how the Texas prophet cartoon attack unfolded

He was convicted of conspiring to support a foreign terrorist organisation and interstate transportation of firearms, among other charges.

Authorities also claim he inquired about explosives to blow up the Arizona stadium, which is where the Super Bowl was held that year, before deciding on the cartoon event.

Earlier this week, ex-convict Joseph Schreiber was sentenced to 30 years in prison for setting fire to a mosque that the Orlando nightclub shooter had occasionally attended.

Schreiber pleaded no contest and was also ordered to pay $10,000 (£7,986). in compensation, despite damages to the mosque exceeding $100,000.

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