Syrian Refugee Living In Pittsburgh Arrested On Terrorism Charges For Plans To Attack North Side Church

June 19, 2019 - 7:18 pm

Pittsburgh resident and Syrian refugee Mustafa Mousab Alowemer was arrested Wednesday after planning to attack a Christian church with a bomb in the name of ISIS.

Accordng to a release from the Department of Justice, Alowemer, 21, is facing one count of attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and two counts of distributing information relating to an explosive, destructive device, or weapon of mass destruction in relation to his plan to attack, Legacy International Worship Center, a church on Pittsburgh's North Side.

The announcement came from Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Assistant Director Michael McGarrity of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division and Special Agent in Charge Robert Jones of the FBI’s Pittsburgh Division.

“Court documents show Mustafa Alowemer planned to attack a church in the name of ISIS, which could have killed or injured many people.  Fortunately, his plans were foiled by the full force of the FBI Pittsburgh Joint Terrorism Task Force,” said Assistant Director McGarrity.  “The FBI takes threats to churches and other religious institutions extremely seriously and will use all our resources to stop potential terrorist attacks against them.”

The release states that Alowemer's motivation for the planned attack on the church was to support the cause of ISIS and to inspire other ISIS supporters in the United States to join together and commit similar acts in the name of ISIS as well as “take revenge for our [ISIS> brothers in Nigeria.”

Alowemer was born in Daraa, Syria, and was admitted to the United States as a refugee on Aug. 1, 2016.

Read the complaint against Alowemer.

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