A court in Pennsylvania, U.S. has sentenced a 24-year-old Syrian American, Mustafa Mousab Alowemer, to 208 months — over 17 years — in federal prison over his support for the dreaded terror group, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and plot to bomb a Nigerian church in Pittsburgh.
The US Department of Justice said Alowemer, who moved to the U.S. in 2016 as a refugee from Syria, pleaded guilty in the Western District of Pennsylvania on September 16, 2021, to one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIS in connection with his plan to attack the Nigerian church in Pittsburgh identified as “Nigerian Christian Church”.
The Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, Matthew G. Olsen, in a statement said that “Alowemer admitted to planning a deadly bombing of a Pittsburgh church in the name of ISIS”.
He said, “The National Security Division was created to protect the nation from terrorist threats and we remain vigilant against those who would plot violent attacks on U.S. soil in furtherance of an extreme ideology.”
The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Cindy K. Chung said, “The defendant’s plan to bomb a Pittsburgh church and risk death or injury to residents in the area in the name of ISIS was thwarted by the extraordinary work of the Pittsburgh Joint Terrorism Task Force,” noting that “Our office will continue to hold accountable individuals who threaten the safety of our communities.
Syrian refugee sentenced to more than 17 years in prison for plotting to bomb Nigerian church in US
Court documents showed that Alowemer plotted to bomb the Nigerian church located on the North side of Pittsburgh using an explosive device.
The US Justice Department in a statement said Alowemer’s motivation to conduct such an attack was to support the cause of ISIS and to inspire other ISIS supporters in the US to join together and commit similar acts in the name of ISIS.
Alowemer also targeted the church to “take revenge for our [ISIS] brothers in Nigeria.”
The statement noted that in furtherance of the plot to bomb the church, Alowemer in May 2019 distributed multiple instructional documents related to the construction and use of explosives and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to an individual he believed to be a fellow ISIS supporter, but who was, in fact, an FBI employee.