PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto reaffirmed his support for the refugee and immigrant community just hours after a Syrian refugee was charged with plotting an ISIS-inspired terror bombing at a local church.
“Pittsburgh has historically been a home for refugees and immigrants and will continue to be one,” Peduto said.
The Mayor’s statement came after the Department of Justice announced that Syrian refugee and Pittsburgh resident Mustafa Alowemer was arrested after allegedly planning to bomb the Legacy International Worship Center on the North Side.
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Mayor Peduto’s statement continued, “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, and we oppose hate against anyone in any form, and we also cooperate with law enforcement whenever legitimate and dangerous crimes are threatening us.”
Mayor Peduto also said that the city would continue to cooperate with authorities in order to keep Pittsburgh residents safe.
“Today, unfortunately, those threats come from everywhere,” he said. “The record shows most terrorists attacking the United States are domestic, such as the man who murdered 11 Tree of Life worshippers in October. The City of Pittsburgh will continue to welcome newcomers to our city and nation, while diligently working with federal law enforcement and others to keep us safe, and to eradicate all attempts to threaten and terrify us.”
Alowemer is facing one count of attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and two counts of distributing information relating to an explosive, destructive device or weapon of mass destruction.
“On behalf of the citizens of Pittsburgh, I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their arrest today, and the daily investigative work they and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police do to protect us from acts of terrorism and hate,” he said. “Today’s events are especially alarming due to the suspect’s alleged target of yet another place of worship in our city, like the Tree of Life synagogue, which should be peaceful places of refuge and reflection that are free of threats of violence.”