UPDATED 7:44 AM PT — Thursday, June 20, 2019
According to the Department of Justice, Mustafa Alowemer was arrested Wednesday in connection to a hate crime orchestrated by the Islamic State. The 21-year-old was allegedly planning to bomb a Christian church on Pittsburgh’s north side.
Department of Homeland Security officials say Alowemer was welcomed into the U.S. as a Syrian refugee back in 2016. He was taken into custody after providing terrorism-related material to an FBI agent, who was posing as a fellow ISIS member.
— Lisa Sylvester (@LisaSylvester) June 20, 2019
During their communication Alowemer not only stated his support for the terror group, but requested a weapon with a silencer and recorded a video of himself pledging an oath of allegiance to the leader of ISIS. He also sent instructions to assemble explosive devices after purchasing batteries, nails, and other household bomb-making materials. Alowemer claimed he wanted revenge for his “brothers,” whose fight against Christianity has spread beyond Iraq and Syria to Nigeria.
“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” Pastor Michael Day, Legacy International Worship Center
The arrest comes after the FBI hosted church leaders and law enforcement at their headquarters in Washington, D.C., where they discussed the rising levels of violence against houses of worship.
In a statement, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said, “the city will continue to welcome newcomers, while working with police to keep residents safe.” Meanwhile, Alowemer is being held without bond. His detention hearing has been postponed to Friday.
A Syrian refugee/Pittsburgh resident was arrested today for plotting to attack a North Side Christian church in the name of ISIS. Mustafa Mousab Alowemer, 21, is charged with attempting to provide material support/resources to ISIS, among other charges @KDKA pic.twitter.com/bsDbwUqICy
— Rachele Mongiovi (@4RacheleM) June 19, 2019