Members of a Muslim community in Delaware County that was the target of a recent foiled terror plot spoke today about what could have been a massive tragedy.
The Muslims of America held a press conference in Binghamton to respond to the arrests made in the Islamberg terror plot.
Police in the Rochester suburb of Greece arrested 18-year-old Andrew Crysel, 19-year-old Vincent Vetromile, 20-year-old Brian Colaneri and an unidentified 16 year-old and charged them all with criminal possession of a weapon and conspiracy.
23 firearms were found in various locations connected to the investigation along with homemade explosive devices.
Police say the planning for the attack on Islamberg had been ongoing for about a month and that they were tipped off by a high school student.
Rashid Clark is the Mayor of Islamberg. Clark says the Muslim enclave is home to about 200 residents, many of them women, children and the elderly. “We’re normal people in everyday life. This is just a tragic event, a tragic event that hurts our hearts. That someone would want to plot to cause harm, yet again, to a peaceful, loving community.”
This is not the first time Islamberg has been the target of a terror attack.
In 2017, a former Tennessee congressional candidate was convicted and sent to prison for planning a similar attack on the Islamberg mosque and school using explosives, snipers and M-4 rifles.
Clark says Islamberg was founded in 1980 as a place for American Muslims to escape the dangers of the urban city and provide a wholesome upbringing for their children. “They call it homesteading. We grow crops, we raise animals, and we live like law-abiding citizens. Unfortunately, there are those who don’t know this and they’d like to paint another picture, a different picture of us, which will never stick. Which we will never accept.”
Clark blames Islamaphobia, or the fear of Islam, for conspiracy theories that accuse Islamberg of posing a threat to others.
He says the community, which is now in its 4th generation, has produced professionals in the fields healthcare, technology, engineering and education.