On Wednesday, the Department of Justice announced that a Syrian refugee has been arrested for allegedly scheming to attack a Pittsburgh church, the Legacy International Worship Center, “to support the cause of ISIS and to inspire other ISIS supporters in the United States.”
As ABC News reports, the DOJ stated, “(The suspect) also distributed propaganda materials, offered to provide potential targets in the Pittsburgh area, requested a weapon with a silencer, and recorded a video of himself pledging an oath of allegiance to the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”
The Department of Justice website noted that Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers stated, “Targeting places of worship is beyond the pale, no matter what the motivation. The defendant is alleged to have plotted just such an attack of a church in Pittsburgh in the name of ISIS. The National Security Division and our partners will continue our efforts to identify and bring to justice individuals in our country who seek to commit violence on behalf of ISIS and other terrorist organizations. I want to thank the agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for this investigation.”
Assistant Director Michael McGarrity of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division added:
U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady for the Western District of Pennsylvania added, “Court documents show (the suspect) 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. 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 DOJ delineated the plans of the suspect and his birthplace:
According to the complaint and information provided to the FBI by the Department of Homeland Security, (the suspect) was born in Daraa, Syria, and was admitted to the United States as a refugee on Aug. 1, 2016.
In furtherance of the plot to bomb the Church, in May 2019, (the suspect) distributed multiple instructional documents related to the construction and use of explosives and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to an individual (the suspect) believed to be a fellow ISIS supporter, but who was in fact an FBI employee. (The suspect) distributed these documents with the intent that the information be used in the assembly of a destructive device and in furtherance of conducting an attack in support of ISIS. In or around June 2019, (the suspect) purchased several items with the belief that they were necessary to assemble a destructive device and with the intention that they be used to construct the explosives that would be detonated in the vicinity of the Church.
In planning the attack, (the suspect) used multiple social networking and mobile messenger applications to communicate with an individual whom he believed to be a fellow ISIS supporter. During his communications, (the suspect) stated his support for ISIS, and his desire to answer the call for jihad or travel to conduct jihad. (The suspect) also distributed propaganda materials, offered to provide potential targets in the Pittsburgh area, requested a weapon with a silencer, and recorded a video of himself pledging an oath of allegiance to the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The name of the suspect has been withheld from this article. Recent studies suggest that “media coverage of mass shootings can have a significant impact on the psyches of potential mass shooters — that such potential mass shooters have a cognitive craving for attention, which they know they will receive for committing atrocities.” For this reason, The Daily Wire no longer publishes names and images of mass shooters as it has become increasingly clear in recent years that “the value of public knowledge regarding specific names and photographs of mass shooters is significantly outweighed by the possibility of encouraging more mass shootings.”