Islamic leader tried to mentor terror suspect

TOPEKA, Kansas (KSNT) – John T. Booker Jr. is being charged with plotting a suicide bomb attack on Fort Riley. Booker Jr. also goes by the name Muhammad Abdullah Hassan. Prosecutors say he told an FBI informant he wanted to kill Americans on behalf of ISIS.

“It’s had a shocking affect,” Omar Hazim has been the Imam at the Islamic Center of Topeka for more than 25 years.

Last year, the FBI reached out to him, after Booker Jr. posted his terrorist intentions on Facebook.

They asked him to help show and explain to Booker Jr. the true Islamic beliefs, “it’s a message of love and tolerance, it’s a message of mercy and respect and forgiveness.”

Hazim then got Booker Jr. involved in Friday prayers and Sunday prayer classes, teaching the history and beliefs of Islam.

“I wanted to do what I could to try and unravel those ideas and show him over and over and over again what the holy Koran says about acts of terrorism,” says Hazim.

But even with the almost a year of teachings, Booker Jr. still followed through with his initial intentions, going against everything the Islamic community believes. “It’s completely contrary to everything that the Koran teaches and it’s contrary to our life style here,” says Hazim.

Hazim says the community will continue to pray and are glad that no one at Fort Riley or Booker Jr. was hurt.

Police have also identified Alexander E. Blair as a second suspect in the Fort Riley terror plot, for failing to report Booker Jr.

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