A Syrian refugee was sentenced to 17 years for plotting to bomb a Pittsburgh Christian Church.
Mustafa Mousab Alowemer (24 years old) was sentenced Tuesday to 17 and 4 months for a plea guilty to a federal charge last year of providing material support and resources for the Islamic State group. This is a militant extremist group.
Authorities claim that Alowemer was born in Syria and arrived in the United States in 2016. He had plans to bomb Legacy International Worship Center in 2019. This Christian church is located on the city’s North Side. Prosecutors claimed that he was trying to incite other U.S. supporters of the Islamic State group to carry out similar actions.
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In May 2019, Alowemer sent instructions to someone he believed was a fellow IS supporter. However, that person was actually with the FBI, according to prosecutors. They said that he bought nails and nail polish remover a month later to make an explosive device.
Alowemer shared maps of escape and arrival routes with an FBI agent in June 2019. He also gave an FBI confidential source a 10-point handwritten plan on how he would transport the explosives in his backpack. A week later, he was arrested.
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Marilyn Horan, U.S. District Judge, told Alowemer Tuesday that the case had had “nothing but tragic consequences” for him and his family as well as the entire community.
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She was sad that you knew exactly what you were doing. “All your actions were deliberate, conscious and intentional.”
Prosecutors wanted a maximum term of 20 year. The defense requested an eight-year sentence, arguing that Alowemer had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression over the years. He also suffered from survivor’s guilt which made him obsessive about what was going on in his homeland.
Assistant public defender Andrew Lipson stated that he was sick at the time of his crime, which contributed to his offense. “He was sick and that sickness caused a distortion of the world around him.”
Soo Song, Assistant U.S. attorney, acknowledged that he had suffered trauma. However, he claimed that what he planned was not only an act of terror but also had the hallmarks a hate crime. He targeted a Christian church in a retaliation for ISIS’s actions in Nigeria. She said that he also identified classmates and U.S. troops as potential targets.
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Alowemer, who was also a pastor in the church, apologized to the congregation and the community as well as the government.
He said, “I am aware of the seriousness of my crime.” “I don’t think or act as I did before. I don’t support ISIS anymore.