Pfc. Naser Abdo, an AWOL soldier accused of plotting an attack on Fort Hood, made quite an impression after his first court appearance Friday when he yelled the name of the man accused of killing 13 and wounding 30 at the same base in 2009.
During the hearing, Abdo was charged with possessing an illegal firearm. As he left the courtroom, Abdo shouted "Nidal Hasan, Fort Hood 2009."
Maj. Nidal Hasan is accused of gunning down dozens of people in the worst mass shooting ever on a U.S. military installation.
Abdo was arrested Wednesday in Killeen and found to be in possession of bomb-making materials, according to the FBI.
Father calls allegations "lies"
Police and the Army say Abdo admitted plotting an attack, but in Fuhais, Jordan, his father insisted the allegations were "all lies from A to Z."
"My son loved people no matter who they are, whether Jews or Christians," Jamal Abdo said. "Naser is not the kind of a person who harbors evil for the other people, he cannot kill anyone and he could not have done any bad thing."
Jamal Abdo, 52, is a Jordanian who lived near Fort Hood in Killeen for 25 years until he was deported from the United States last year after being convicted of soliciting a minor.
He disputed both the child pornography charges and the bomb plot allegations against his son, and said Naser was discriminated against in the Army because of his religion.
"Fellow soldiers slurred him and treated him badly. They mocked him as he prayed. They cursed him and used bad language against Islam and its prophet," he said.
"He reported these incidents, but nothing was done about it," the elder Abdo said. "Therefore he wanted to leave the Army. I always told him to be calm and to focus on his duty, and he used to tell me, 'Yes, Papa."'
He said Naser never mentioned al-Qaida and that he last spoke to his son a week ago.
FBI affidavit unsealed
The criminal complaint released Friday alleges that Abdo was in possession of a .40 caliber handgun, ammunition, an article titled "Make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom," as well as bomb-making components including smokeless gunpowder, shotgun shells, shotgun pellets, two clocks, wire, a drill and two pressure cookers. An article with that title appears in an al-Qaida magazine.
The complaint alleges that Abdo planned to assemble the devices in his hotel room and then detonate them in an unspecified restaurant frequented by Fort Hood soldiers.
It was not immediately known of Abdo had any connections to terror groups or Hasan. James Branum, an Oklahoma attorney who had been representing Abdo on the child pornography charges, said Friday he had not heard from Abdo.
He said Abdo was "stressed and anxious" about the child pornography charges but "I didn't see any indication he would do anything like this. ... I would not have taken the case if I had any indication of this kind of mindset."
Writings contrast with allegations, court appearance
Abdo, who is from Garland and stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky., won conscientious objector status earlier this year after stating his Muslim religious beliefs would prevent him from fighting in any war.
In an essay obtained by the AP, Abdo deplored the 2009 shootings at Fort Hood that killed 13 and wounded 30. Such acts, he wrote, "run counter to what I believe as a Muslim."
Several writings by Abdo obtained by the AP portray a devout infantry soldier struggling with his faith while facing the prospect of deployment and what he felt was the scorn of his peers.
"Overall, as a Muslim I feel that I will not be able to carry out my military duties due to my conscientious objection," Abdo wrote in his application for conscientious objector status. "Therefore, unless I separate myself from the military, I would potentially be putting the soldiers I work with in jeopardy.
In his essay, which he sent to the AP last year as he made his conscientious-objector plea, he said his mother is Christian and his father is Muslim, and that he decided to follow Islam when he was 17.
He wrote that he joined the Army believing he could serve in the military and honor his religion, but he ended up having to endure insults and threats from fellow soldiers over his religion during basic and advanced training. He said life was better after he arrived at his first duty station, but that he studied Islam more closely as he neared deployment to learn "whether going to war was the right thing to do Islamically."
"I began to understand and believe that only God can give legitimacy to war and not humankind," he wrote. "That's when I realized my conscience would not allow me to deploy."
His application was filed in June 2010. The Army's Conscientious Objector Review board denied his request, but the deputy assistant secretary of the Army Review Boards Agency recommended he be separated from the Army as a conscientious objector. The discharge was delayed when he was charged with possession of child pornography on May 13.
Fort Campbell civilian spokesman Bob Jenkins said Abdo had been aware of the child pornography investigation since November.
Abdo is in federal custody and, if convicted of possessing an illegal firearm, faces 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Two veterans groups that supported Abdo in his bid to be a conscientious objector said they have not had direct contact with him recently.
"If any of these allegations are true, any sort of violence toward anyone goes completely against what a conscientious objector believes," said Jose Vasquez, executive director of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
Another group, Courage to Resist, said in a statement that it had removed Abdo's profile from its website. It said it has paid $800 of Abdo's legal fees in the conscientious objector case.
Vasquez provided a copy of a statement Abdo sent to his group last year that claimed soldiers often associated terror with Islam "during routine training exercises."
"Only when the military and America can dissociate Muslims from terror can we move onto a brighter future of religious collaboration and dialogue that defines America and makes me proud to be an American," Abdo wrote.