A 21-year-old man from Holland Ohio, was arrested by the FBI on Friday for planning an attack on a local synagogue.
Damon Joseph was charged with a count of attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State.
“Damon Joseph was allegedly inspired by ISIS’s call to violence and hate. He planned to attack the victims, based on their religion, at a Toledo-area synagogue in the name of ISIS, and hoped that it would lead to the deaths of many and spread fear,” said Assistant Attorney General John Demers in a statement from U.S. Department of Justice.
“His alleged actions would be an assault on the liberties and respect for humanity we hold so dear,” continued Demers. “We will continue to make every effort to prevent such attacks from occurring.”
“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,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. “The charges describe a calculated man fueled by an ideology of hatred and intent on killing innocent people. The FBI, our police and Justice Department employees are to be credited for working to stop the defendant before he could act.”
According to Acting Special Agent in Charge Jeff Fortunato of the FBI’s Cleveland Division, Joseph ultimately decided “to target two Toledo-area synagogues for a mass-casualty attack in the name of ISIS” and “will now be accountable in a court of law for his pursuit of a violent act of terrorism upon our fellow citizens attending their desired house of worship.”
On Oct. 30, Joseph and an undercover FBI agent communicated regarding the deadliest attack in American Jewish history at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh. “I admire what the guy did with the shooting actually,” said Joseph.
“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,” said Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz in a statement. “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,” added Kapszukiewicz.
If convicted, Joseph faces up to 20 years behind bars.