PHOENIX (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Sentencing is set Wednesday for an American-born Muslim convert convicted of supporting the Islamic State group and helping to plot a 2015 attack on a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in North Texas.
Prosecutors are seeking a life sentence for Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, while his defense attorney has asked for less than six years of prison time.
Authorities say Kareem, the owner of a moving company in Phoenix, provided the guns that two friends used to open fire outside the anti-Islam event at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland and hosted the two Islamic State followers at his home to discuss the upcoming attack.
His friends, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, were killed in a police shootout outside the contest. A security guard was wounded, but no one else was injured. The contest featured cartoons that are offensive to Muslims.
It’s unknown whether the attack was inspired by the Islamic State or carried out in response to an order from the group.
Prosecutors have said Kareem watched videos depicting violence by jihadists with the two friends, encouraged them to launch violent attack to support the terrorist group and researched travel to the Middle East to join Islamic State fighters.
Authorities also said Kareem inquired about explosives to blow up the Arizona stadium where the 2015 Super Bowl was held, but later set his sights on the cartoon contest after the stadium plan fell through.
The verdicts against Kareem nearly a year ago marked the second conviction of someone within the United States on charges of supporting the Islamic State. He was convicted of conspiring to support a foreign terrorist organization, interstate transportation of firearms and other charges.
Kareem denies involvement in the plan to attack the contest, testifying that he didn’t know his friends were going to attack the contest and didn’t find out about the shooting until after Simpson and Soofi were killed.
Kareem told jurors that he strongly disapproved of Simpson using Kareem’s laptop to watch al-Qaida promotional materials.
Prosecutors said Kareem tried to carry out an insurance scam to fund the Islamic State group and tried to indoctrinate two teenage boys in his neighborhood in radical jihadism.
Kareem’s brother is expected to testify on his behalf at the sentencing hearing.
(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)