Plot to bomb mosque in US foiled
15 October 2016, 17:41
US federal authorities have announced the arrest of three men charged with attempt to set off a bomb where several Muslims residents of Kansas City suburbs live and worship.
Tom Beal, acting US attorney, announced on Friday that three Kansas men were charged in a domestic-terrorism plot to bomb an apartment complex where several Somali immigrant families lived and worshipped.
The three men - identified by Beal as Curtis Allen, 49, Gavin Wright, 49, and Patrick Stein, 47 - were arrested in Liberal on Friday morning.
Allen and Wright are Liberal residents. Stein lives in Wright and is the owner of G&H Mobile Home Center at 1250 E Tucker Road in Liberal, Beall said.
Beal said the men belonged to a small rightwing militia group called The Crusaders.
Trump to blame?
They planned to set off the bomb on November 9 so as not to affect the US presidential elections which takes place on November 8, according to federal investigators.
Nihad Awad, executive director of Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR), told Al Jazeera that the plot to kill Muslim Americans was enabled in part by the anti-Muslim environment in the country created by the right wing of the Republican Party in general and presidential candidate Donald Trump in particular.
"Trump repeated anti-Muslim racist statements created an environment of hatred and bigotry against Muslims in this election year. Trump's words encouraged domestic terrorist groups to commit acts of terrorism and violence against our community members," he said.
Beall said the FBI investigation uncovered a "deep hidden culture of hatred and violence".
The FBI launched its investigation eight months ago, on February 16.
"These individuals had the desire, the means and the capabilities and were committed to carrying out this act of domestic terrorism," Eric Jackson, FBI special agent in charge, said on Friday.
Awad said: "The Republican Party have used every media outlet at its disposal to demonise Muslims in the US and outside giving hate groups ammunition and justifications to plot against American Muslims."
Bomb planned to 'wake people up'
Moussa Elbayoumy, CAIR's Kansas City board member, condemned the plot against Muslim community members whom he described as a "small and diverse group of residents who also have complained of racist treatments against them in the past".
According to the FBI investigations, The Crusader group had stockpiled explosives and weapons to use the day after the general elections and publishing a "manifesto" about their plot.
Investigators quoted one of the plotters saying the explosion would "wake people up".
The FBI said the plotters also planned to detonate car bombs around the apartment complex which would create a huge explosion resulting in the killing of great number of people if it was carried out.
Expressing the American Muslim community's disenchantment with the Republican Party due to repeated negative attacks against them by Republican activists and presidential candidates alike, Awad said American Muslims will no longer vote republican in this election.
"According to a recent poll conducting CAIR of Muslim Americans around the country, it found that the majority of Muslim American electorate will no longer vote for the Republican Party as they have done in the past 16 years," Awad said.
"It is very concerning and very disheartening," Hussam Madi, spokesperson for the Islamic Society of Wichita, said of the planned attack.
"I thank God that they were able to be caught before anything can happen. We don't need such actions here within our community and within our country."