By Mike Schuh

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — They tried to stop him. People who prayed with the Baltimore man accused of trying to bomb a recruiting center speak out.

 Kelly McPherson spoke with the people who prayed alongside the terrorist suspect.

Mosque members say Antonio Martinez was looking for acceptance and love when he came to them a year ago. When he asked odd questions about jihad, they had him speak with mosque leaders.  Then, he disappeared.

Martinez does have a criminal record. He was arrested for stealing a car in 2008.

About a year ago, local Muslims say he converted to Islam, changing his name to Mohammad Hussain.

Sometime in the past few months is when his extremist views sprouted on Facebook. And two months ago is when FBI agents started working undercover—guiding his plans to blow up the Armed Forces Career Center, a military recruitment center in Catonsville on Wednesday.

“That kid needed counseling, not a jail, though,” said Walker, a mosque member.

The Faizan-E-Madina mosque in the Security Plaza in Woodlawn is where Martinez converted to Islam.  People there say they tried to steer him away from his extremist views.

“He was asking about, like, what is jihad? And how to do jihad and what to do,” said Ahmed Rana, mosque member. “We told him that jihad is to kill inside you, like, to go pray, be a good Muslim.  Jihad is not to go kill people who haven’t done anything bad to you.”

Mosque members taught Martinez about Islam, but he stopped showing up to prayers a few months ago.  They don’t know who else may have been influencing him, and worry this one man will cast shadows over the entire peaceful religion.

“We are scared that you guys might think that we might have done that, but we haven’t done that,” Rana said. “He came to us.  He wanted to learn about Islam, but we didn’t teach him what to do and what not to do.”

“We want to say again and again neither our religion or us are bad people or extremists, or these kind of things,” Walker said. “We are a very loving people.”

“Islam doesn’t talk about that—to blow up something,” Russell Kajn said. “Don’t know where they get these ideas.”

They add that no one can learn all there is to know about any religion in less than a year and that they’re concerned Martinez is giving their religion a bad name. He may have left because services were led in a Pakistani language, which Martinez did not speak.

Martinez faces life in prison if convicted of attempting to use weapons of mass destruction.

Comments (14)
  1. Pow. says:

    I think people need to stop stereotyping. Just because they are muslims,doesn’t mean that they are all bad. If so, are we saying that all white people are white supremacist? We need to fight against the terrorists, not against the religion!

    1. Jim says:

      Stereotyping??? Have You heard of Non islamic/muslim terrorists lately???

      1. Islam is PEACE says:

        FBI has over a million ppl on the “Terrorist Watch List” and most of them are Non-Muslims.

        Here is a sampling of some home grown terrorism:
        Timothy McVeigh

        Timothy McVeigh is the right wing Christian who bombed the FBI Building in Oklahoma City. Here is a mug shot of McVeigh.
        The Unabomber

        Ted Kaczynski – The Unabomber
        Clayton Waagner

        Clayton Waagner – Anti Abortion Terrorism
        Eric Rudolph

        Eric Rudolph is another anti-abortion terrorist, who recently pleaded guilty for bombing the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.
        Robert Goldstein

        Dr. Robert Goldstein, is a Jewish podiatrist. He plotted to bomb Islamic mosques, Islamic centers and Islamic schools with his wife.
        William Krar and Judith Bruey

        William Krar planned to use cyanide to poison thousands of people. He was dubbed The American Taliban afterhis arrest.
        Army of God

        The Army of God encourages killing doctors and nurses providing abortion, and burning their clinics. For example, check what Chuck Spingola, said on the Army of God web site.
        Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold

        Teenagers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold perpetrated one of the most horrible crimes in the last decade, the infamous Columbine High School shooting rampage.
        George Metesky

        George Metesky, also known as The Mad Bomber, planted a bomb in a theatre in 1956, and attributed that to the “Hand of God’.
        David Berkovitz

        David Berkowitz, also known as Son of Sam, was a serial killer. More on him in this article.
        Jeffrey Dahmer

        Jeffrey Dahmer a serial killer and cannibal.
        Future Threats

  2. Islam Is PEACE says:

    there are thousands of American Muslims living in baltimore and love america. even if they disagree with the policies of the government overseas, they don’t want to stop it by violence.

    This troubled young man seemed to need counseling… if wish this agent who entrapped him could have just convinced him that it was a bad idea and took him to a counselor.

    Too bad for all of us.

  3. Islam is PEACE says:

    I hope that NAACP picks up this case…

  4. al neri says:

    If this guy went there to convert and started asking about jihad then the leaders of the muslim place should have contacted our authorities and warned of the dangers this guy was up to. All muslims are bad and should be deported right away.

  5. Tom White says:

    Why are you wasting your time interviewing the friends of a terrorist. What about the soldiers who are working at the recruiting center. Such a waste, congratulations liberal america

  6. APW says:

    So let me get this straight. A year ago he was introduced to Islam. So it takes one year to convince a man to commit mass murder. Maybe he is not so much the problem as the Imams at the Mosque. Some level accountability should lie with them. Has anyone from the Muslim Community apologized or expressed regret to the US Service Personnel serving at the recruitment center? I doubt it.

  7. narob says:

    Islam has been at war with the non-islamic world for 1400 years
    islam has been conquering, murdering, and suppressing for 1400 years
    Islam teaches dishonesty, violence, murder, and sedition.
    Islam is NOT a religion.
    Islam is a SEDITIOUS IDEOLOGY !!

  8. Steve says:

    Hang him and bury him in pig skin…..
    He tryed to kill many innocent people, NO MERCY.

  9. Islam is PEACE says:

    wow, I can’t believe I am living in a society with a bunch of radicals… Radicalism is the same on all sides. I wish there were more peace in this world.
    The authorities are for all of us not only for “YOU” (al neri)… don’t forget that it was a Muslim who got this guy busted or that’s haw its been shown in the media.

    Well, if an imam or a rabi or a priest/preacher is teaching violence to its congregation, they should be help accountable.
    I am an American Muslim and I love America and value it… so don’t make it seem like its only white/non-muslim ppl who love America. Blacks have given too much to this country so have hispanics and Muslims.

    So, lets live in peace and create a society that is based on “justice for all”…


  10. pigeon says:

    to Islam si PEACE – you need to get your head out of the place where the sun doesn’t shine – there is no longer any such animal thanks, mainly, to their acts on 9/11 and ALL events thereafter. “Justice for all”. Yeah, right. Justice is blind!

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