Two teenage boys testified Wednesday in a terror case in Phoenix that the defendant befriended them and repeatedly talked about how he wanted to hurt non-Muslims and people at an anti-Islam event in Texas.
The 13- and 15-year-old boys testified against 44-year-old Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, who is accused of orchestrating what became a thwarted attack on a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, last year.
Kareem is one of the first people in the U.S. to stand trial on charges of supporting Islamic State.
The teens explained to the jury how Kareem was becoming increasingly radicalized and upset about the cartoon contest.
They lived across the street from Kareem and became friends with him as he gave them presents like an Xbox, clothes and phone and took them out to eat while persuading them to convert to Islam.
The 15-year-old said he remembered Kareem saying he wanted to strap a bomb to himself, go to a mall and blow up people.
In discussions about the anti-Islam cartoon contest, the boy added that Kareem wanted to go and shoot people.
The other boy said Kareem mentioned equipping one of the shooters, Elton Simpson, with an AK-47. One of the teens said Kareem was especially disdainful of non-Muslims, calling them a derogatory term.
The 15-year-old said Kareem showed him a video of someone getting killed.
The younger boy told jurors how Kareem awoke him in early 2015 with his laughter as a watched a news report on Islamic State militants burning a Jordanian pilot to death in a cage.
Kareem denies the allegations and claims the government is using guilt through associations to target him.
The defense says the government has little proof that Kareem was the mastermind behind the Texas attack, in which Simpson and friend Nadir Soofi were killed by a police officer. They arrived at the event with semiautomatic weapons, bulletproof vests and print-outs of the flag of Islamic State.
The boys described Kareem as a father figure of sorts, with one of them moving in with him. He bought them things as gifts and in exchange for doing work in his yard. He also taught them about Islam and the religion's traditions.
The Associated Press is not identifying the teens because they are minors and not accused of any wrongdoing.Two teenage boys testified at a terrorism trial in Phoenix about how the defendant befriended them and repeatedly talked about how he wanted to kill non-Muslims and people at an anti-Islam event in Texas.
The 13- and 15-year-old boys testified Wednesday against Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, who is standing trial on charges that he orchestrated a thwarted attack on a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, last year. He is one of the first people in the U.S. to stand trial on charges of supporting Islamic State.
The older teen said Kareem told him he was so upset about the cartoon contest that he wanted to shoot up the event. He also wanted to attach a bomb to himself and set it off at a mall.