A third man has been named as a suspect in the May 3 shooting attack by two jihadis on the Garland, Texas, event where a prize was awarded for the best cartoon depiction of Muhammad.
According to the indictment, posted by the NBC affiliate in Dallas, the third suspect is Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, a 43-year-old Muslim convert. He’s accused of playing host to the two others in the alleged plot and providing guns for them.
Killed by a police officer when they arrived at the Garland event and started shooting were Nadir Soofi and Elton Simpson. Authorities report they had driven from Phoenix to the event described by organizers as a stand for free speech against attempts to impose Islamic law on the West.
A police officer shot and killed Soofi and Simpons when they opened fire and injured a security guard.
The Dallas television station reported Abdul Kareem, who also is known as Decarus Thomas, previously was arrested for aggravated drunken driving and aggravated assault.
The indictment alleges he committed conspiracy, made false statements and was involved in the interstate transportation of firearms with intent to commit a felony.
The event, called the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest, was sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, led by Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs, who is faced with additional security expenses of $30,000 due to death threats since the attack by ISIS, which claimed responsibility for the attack, and others.
The winning entry in the contest, by former Muslim Bosch Fawstin, depicts Muhammad angrily shouting “You can’t draw me!” to which the cartoonist responds, “That’s why I draw you.”
Shortly after the Garland attack, ISIS confirmed Geller was the main target for “slaughter.” Later, ISIS follower Usaamah Rahim, who was fatally shot by Boston police officers after trying to attack them, was found by the FBI to have plotted to behead Geller.
The keynote speaker at the Garland event was Dutch politician Geert Wilders, whose entry to the U.S. was contested by three congressmen.
Geller, a WND columnist, said drawing Muhammad “is not illegal under American law, but only under Islamic law.”
“Violence that arises over the cartoons is solely the responsibility of the Islamic jihadists who perpetrate it,” she said.
Geller said either America “will stand now against attempts to suppress the freedom of speech by violence, or will submit and give the violent the signal that we can be silenced by threats and murder.”
She insisted there “is nothing about this cartoon that incites violence.”
“It is within the established American tradition of satire. If America surrenders on this point, the freedom of speech is a relic of history,” she said.
AFDI Vice President Robert Spencer stated many people on both the political left and right “are saying that we should do nothing to provoke Islamic fundamentalism.”
But he argued avoiding “things that anger them” would not stop the attacks.
He noted an ISIS spokesman boasted: “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah, the Exalted. This is His promise to us; He is glorified and He does not fail in His promise. If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market.”
Spencer said that in light of that statement, “what is the point of asking whether or not we should provoke them?”
“They’re already provoked,” he said. “A more useful question now is whether it is really productive and helpful to signal to them that we will acquiesce to their threats of violence and change our behavior accordingly, or whether we will instead signal to them that their violent threats are not going to frighten us into submission.”
The Dallas television report said the suspect was born and raised in Philadelphia as Decarus Lowell Thomas.
His attorney didn’t immediately respond to phone or email messages early Tuesday, the station reported.
The indictment alleges Kareem practiced shooting with the other suspects, provided firearms to them and planned with them to carry out the attack.
“Kareem did knowingly and intentionally transport firearms and ammunition in interstate commerce with the intent to commit crimes punishable by imprisonment exceeding one year and with knowledge and reasonable cause to believe that an offense punishable by imprisonment exceeding one year was to be committed … that is, murder.”
He also lied about it to investigators, the indictment claims.