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Syrian Refugee Busted in Alleged Plot To Bomb US Church

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A 21-year-old Syrian refugee was arrested in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, after being charged with working alongside Islamic terrorists in preparation to bomb a local Christian church.

On Wednesday, Mustafa Mousab Alowemer was taken into custody after a federal complaint accused him of providing resources and support to the Islamic State group, along with plans to coordinate an attack with a weapon of mass destruction.

According to Pittsburgh’s WTAE, Alowemer’s plan was foiled after disclosing details of the bomb plot to undercover FBI agents online, who were posing as Islamic State group sympathizers.

The attack was set to be carried out against Legacy International Worship Center, using an explosive device, Fox News reported. Earlier this week, Alowemer was spotted buying several cartons of nails and screws, which would have likely ended up as shrapnel for the bomb.

Investigators say that he could have injured many people in the area, even if the church was empty at the time of an explosion. His plans also included giving the Islamic State group credit after the attack by flying its flag on the church grounds and placing a sign at the scene that read, “We’ve arrived.”

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But that won’t be happening, thanks to the fine men and women of the FBI, as the would-be bomber now faces a detention hearing in federal court Friday.

Michael Day, pastor of the targeted place of worship, said, “I am grateful nothing did happen, and I’m grateful that we are able to show that God covered us and protected us and that people are still alive, and that people are able to hug their children and loved ones.

“Feel safe. We are working right now as we speak to make sure that everybody feels safe, comforted and the peace is here,” Day added.

The complaint notes that Alowemer entered the United States as a refugee in August 2016 after fleeing Daraa, Syria.

Does America need stronger vetting for refugees?

In the wake of Alowemer’s arrest, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto issued a statement about the foiled plot and the refugee problem.

“Today’s events are especially alarming due to the suspect’s alleged target of yet another place of worship in our city, like the Tree of Life synagogue, which should be peaceful places of refuge and reflection that are free of threats of violence,” Mayor Peduto said.

“Pittsburgh has historically been a home for refugees and immigrants and will continue to be one. In debates over the refugee crisis the past several years, as people from around the world have sought to flee violence and misery and seek better lives for their families in the United States, I have always been consistent in our message: We welcome all refugees and immigrants, and we oppose hate against anyone in any form, and we also cooperate with law enforcement whenever legitimate and dangerous crimes are threatening us.

“Today, unfortunately, those threats come from everywhere. The record shows most terrorists attacking the United States are domestic, such as the man who murdered 11 Tree of Life worshippers in October. The City of Pittsburgh will continue to welcome newcomers to our city and nation, while diligently working with federal law enforcement and others to keep us safe, and to eradicate all attempts to threaten and terrify us,” Mayor Peduto said.

Over the last few years, the migrant crisis has taken the world — and especially the United States — by storm, with President Donald Trump often calling for “extreme vetting” of those seeking refuge.

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And because of would-be terrorists like Awomer, that’s certainly not an unreasonable demand.

“Our country needs strong borders and extreme vetting, NOW. Look what is happening all over Europe and, indeed, the world – a horrible mess!” Trump tweeted, referring to the crisis many European countries found themselves in after migrants arrived on the continent — many from war-torn, terrorist havens — en masse.

As skilled and professional as America’s law enforcement officers are, that doesn’t mean they’ll catch every bad guy, especially those who act like innocent asylum-seekers to gain entry into the United States.

Stronger vetting procedures are critical at this point and need to be in place to ensure that additional potential bad actors are stopped in their tracks before they step foot on American soil.

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Ryan Ledendecker is a freelance journalist and writer. He began reporting news and writing commentary during the 2014 Ferguson riots. Prior to that, he worked as a web editor and columnist for an award-winning local newspaper.
Ryan Ledendecker plunged headfirst into news reporting and political commentary while on the ground during the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. He later wrote extensively on Donald Trump's presidential campaign and election.

When he's not writing, Ryan spends time improving his barbecue skills. He has his own brand of BBQ rub and is a trophy winner in the world of competitive BBQ.
Birthplace
Illinois
Nationality
American
Location
St. Louis, Missouri
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Science & Technology




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