An Islamic extremist formerly of Syria who planned to bomb a church in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania was arrested by FBI agents on Wednesday, June 19. In a statement by Assistant Director Michael McGarrity, of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, court documents show Mustafa Alowemer planned to attack a church in the name of the Islamic State of Iraq or ISIS. Legacy International Worship Center‘s pastor Michael Day shares his reaction to the FBI arrest.
Day said, “I am grateful that nothing did happen. And I’m grateful that we’re able to show that God covered us and protected us, and that people are still alive, and 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.”
According to the criminal complaint, Alowemer met several times between April and June with the undercover an FBI agent and an FBI source. During one of the meetings, Alowemer allegedly provided plot details, bomb materials he’d purchased, and printed copies of Google satellite maps with markings showing the location of the church plus arrival and escape routes. A local area resident shared his reaction.
He said, “It was actually like really scary because I have a lot of younger siblings who live in the house down the street. And if this was to actually go through and like happen, that would’ve been more detrimental than I can ever imagine.”
According to the FBI, 21-year-old Alowemer, a Pittsburgh resident, was born in Syria, came to the United States as a refugee in 2016, is now charged with attempting to provide material support ISIS, and distributing information relating to an explosive weapon of mass destruction.
Includes reporting from the Associated Press