Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
“The best news is when you call get ready for jihad,” Mustafa Mousab Alowemer wrote in a public housing project in Pittsburgh. “I will spill my blood for the victory of my religion.”
Northview Heights, the low-income housing project, is 90% African-American. Or at least it was.
Then a flood of Syrian Muslim refugees showed up. Obama had promised to admit 10,000 Syrian migrants in 2016. The terrorist who plotted a massacre at a black church was one of them.
The Alowemer clan arrived at JFK airport in New York City. The same airport through which other terror refugees, including the World Trade Center bombers, had penetrated the United States. Instead of staying in New York, they were resettled in Pittsburgh joining a growing Syrian enclave there.
Northview Heights’ tenant council head told reporters that the Alowemers had “isolated themselves”. They had spent all their time with their fellow Syrian Muslims while avoiding their black neighbors.
But Mustafa Alowemer was not unaware of his black neighbors. He was plotting to kill them. When the FBI and the police descended on the housing project, neighbors learned how close the call had been.
The Syrian Muslim refugee’s target was the Legacy International Worship Center, a small black church on a narrow street with battered slum houses and cracked concrete. The international part reflected the multicultural population of African-Americans and African immigrants, including Nigerian Christians.
The Christians of Nigeria had been subjected to some of the most brutal Islamic massacres in a decade. The Nigerian Christians who had come to the United States were, unlike the Alowemer clan and other Syrian Muslim migrants, authentic refugees fleeing religious persecution, rather than economic migrants. They thought that they were safe in Pittsburgh. But Islamic terror had followed them here.
In Northview Heights, Alowemer plotted the massacre of the Christians whom he called, “Mushrikeen”, an Islamic religious term which condemns Christians and Jews as infidels and deems them to be fair game for mass murder.
“This house is still for the ones who go to church because they are Nigerians,” the Syrian Muslim ranted. “They are all polytheists. We, we, take revenge for our brothers in Nigeria.”
Alowemer plotted to plant a bomb backpack on the side of the gray brick church and then head for a mosque to secure his alibi. The timer would set off the bomb, but by then, the terrorists would claim that they had been at their morning prayers. And other Muslims in the mosque would be their alibi.
But while Alowemer wanted an alibi, he wanted to hear the sounds of the massacre at the black church.
The ISIS supporter’s plan was to be close enough when the bomb went off to hear the blast.
He imagined his attack would “shock the enemies of Allah almighty everywhere and all over America” and his goal was to prevent Christians from “going to their churches and instill fear in their hearts.”
At the bomb site would be an ISIS flag and a message, “We’ve arrived.”
The Alowemer clan arrived in America nearly three years ago. On August 2016, the black church bomber was admitted as a refugee to the United States.
Donald Trump had first won popular support in 2015 by calling for a, “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” Earlier he had said, “I’m putting the people on notice that are coming here from Syria as part of this mass migration, that if I win, they’re going back.”
Obama had doubled down, raising the number of Syrians entering the country from 2,000 to 10,000.
“I don’t want people coming in from the terror countries!” Trump had argued a few months before the Pittsburgh terrorist was admitted as a refugee “I don’t want them, unless they’re very, very strongly vetted.”
Obama insisted in his Thanksgiving message, which falsely compared Syrian Muslim migrants to the pilgrims, that, “No refugee can enter our borders until they undergo the highest security checks of anyone traveling to the United States.”
“Refugees have to be screened by the National Counter Terrorism Center, by the F.B.I. Terrorist Screening Center. They go through databases that are maintained by D.H.S., the Department of Defense and the intelligence community,” the White House spokesman contended.
How good were Obama’s security checks that allowed the black church bomber into America?
“I was raised in Jordan on loving the Jihad and the Mujahdeen,” Alowemer told the man he thought was his accomplice. “I met some Jordanian brothers, some of which did the Nafir in Raqqah, and I, alongside some brothers, were arrested three times in Jordan, because I was one of the supporters.”
The Syrian Muslim refugee had been arrested three times for associating with ISIS fighters and for supporting ISIS.
Despite that he was admitted as a refugee to the United States.
If the robust screening and vetting couldn’t intercept a man who had been arrested three times by an allied country for ties to ISIS, there’s no reason to think that it can or will stop any terrorist.
The black church bomber proved that a travel ban was not an overreaction, but a vital necessity.
Alowemer plotted terrorism against his black neighbors while living in public housing. He graduated from Brashear High School, an English as a Second Language school teeming with a migrant population.
After President Trump’s travel ban was signed into law, a meeting of Syrian migrant students was held at Brashear High School which contained at least 30 Syrians.
Brashear High School had suffered some of the worst damage from the migrant flood with 270 students: some from terror nations like Yemen, Somalia and Syria. 22% of students are immigrants or refugees.
A graduation video shows a student in black cap and gown coming on stage while the mistress of ceremonies clumsily pronounces his name, “Moustafa Alo-wey-mer.” He glances to the side and walks off. Even while this classic ritual of Americana is underway, the new graduate is plotting mass murder.
A few weeks later, the FBI comes for him.
“I long for the promise of Allah, he promised me paradise, he motivated me for martyrdom,” Mustafa Mousab Alowemer wrote in his nasheed addressed to the leader of ISIS. “I long for the land of the Caliphate. I am expecting to raise the banner. I will spill my blood for the victory of my religion.”
Mustafa had never been an American. He had always been a citizen of the ISIS Caliphate.
Local elected officials in Pittsburgh however had made it clear that they had learned nothing.
“In debates over the refugee crisis the past several years, as people from around the world have sought to flee violence and misery and seek better lives for their families in the United States, I have always been consistent in our message: we welcome all refugees and immigrants,” Mayor Peduto insisted.
The targets of this Syrian Muslim refugee were refugees. He had sought to massacre Nigerian Christians and Yazidis, telling ISIS that the Yazidis, the “enemies of Allah, have big celebrations and that they are here in big numbers” and offering to provide the Islamic terrorists with their location.
The arrest of the refugee black church bomber makes it clear that there is an irreconcilable choice.
Pittsburgh and America can accept refugees fleeing Muslim terror. Or they can accept migrants from Muslim terror countries. But to welcome “all refugees” is to terrorize true refugees and immigrants.
The bombing of a black church strikes deep into the nerve center of the civil rights movement.
Democrats claim that stopping attacks against black churches should be a major law enforcement priority, but their own policies brought the latest black church bomber into the heart of Pennsylvania.
And yet we know that this terror plot against a black church will pass. It will receive far less scrutiny and horror than the attacks carried out against black churches by white men. The Democrats who want to talk about white supremacy and white nationalism, don’t want to discuss Islamic supremacism.
What happens when an Islamic supremacist tries to bomb a black church? Silence.
But on Wilson Avenue, in Pittsburgh, in a formerly African-American neighborhood that is losing its character, a worn church with red doors stands witness to the bigotry whose name we may not speak.
The bigotry of Islam nearly killed here, as it slew thousands in black churches across Nigeria.
Mustafa Alowemer failed. The next one of the thousands of Syrian Muslim migrants may succeed.