It is hard to argue these days that Mr. Trump’s hateful racist rhetoric hasn’t put the country in a dangerous place. On October 28, 46 year-old Robert Bowers opened fire on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, killing 11 people with an AR-15-style weapon.
Since then, other people have plotted to do similar things. On Monday, it was reported that a Ohio man is in custody after planning an attack on a synagogue in Toledo, Ohio. Damon Joseph, a 21 year-old is charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIS.
According to authorities:
‘This man spent months planning a violent terrorist attack on behalf of ISIS here in the United States, and eventually targeted a Jewish synagogue in the Toledo area.’
Joseph was arrested in Holland, Ohio, on Friday, December 7. According to Toledo’s newspaper, The Blade:
‘He was partially inspired by the anti-Semitic attack in October by a gunman at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood — where 11 people were killed and six were injured. Mr. Joseph, 21, of Holland, knew what types of weapons and ammunition he wanted to use, when to commence the attack to kill as many people as possible, and how to escape or, if necessary, shoot it out with police, according to the FBI.’
Joseph admitted that he specifically wanted to kill a rabbi, and was one of two people arrested in Lucas County for planning two separate terrorist attacks.
Back in May, the FBI began paying close attention to Joseph because of his social media postings. Joseph posted several photos of knives and guns but one of them had been originally distributed by ISIS’s media wing. He also posted a photo of a ring that displayed the same words as found on ISIS’s flag.
An undercover agent began trading messages with Joseph in September. In the course of that communication, Joseph expressed that he wanted to become a recruiter for ISIS and sent the agent several videos in support of terrorism and encouraging others to join ISIS.
On October 30, which was three days after the Pittsburgh shooting, he went a further step in telling the agent that he fantasized about doing something similar to that. He said:
‘I admire what the guy did with the shooting actually. I can see myself carrying out this type of operation…’
On December 2, Mr. Joseph sent details of his plans to carry out an attack on at least one Toledo synagogue to the undercover agent.
Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz released the following statement on Monday:
‘On behalf of the citizens of Toledo, I would like to thank the FBI, Homeland Security, the Toledo Police Department, and all law enforcement agencies who played a role in helping to prevent a potential catastrophe. We cannot tolerate hate directed toward people of Jewish faith, or of any other religion, and last month’s mass-killing at a Pittsburgh synagogue is a reminder of just how real this threat is. As Hanukkah concludes this evening, all Toledoans should reflect on the holiday’s themes of liberation, identity, and most importantly, freedom from religious persecution.’
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Featured image is a screenshot from 13 ABC (WTVG)