Islamberg is still reeling after four people were arrested for foiling an alleged plot to attack their community.
Community members are happy no plan ever came to fruition, but they’re still left with one big question.
“The arrested suspects have been arrested and charged with felonies including three counts of first degree criminal possession of a dangerous weapon and one count of fourth degree conspiracy,” said Muslims of America CEO Hussein Adams. “Where are the terrorism charges?”
“Certainly it’s a form of terrorism,” said trial attorney Debra Gelson. “But terroristic threats, there were no threats perceived in terms of a verbal threat.”
Gelson says the plan was allegedly conceived behind closed doors.
“We were shocked to learn that while there is a definition for domestic terrorism, it is not a federal crime,” said Muslims of America attorney Tahirah Clark.
Another recent case that took place in Utica did fall within the parameters of a next level charge. A former Utica College student *was convicted of making a terroristic threat.
But his threats were over the phone and prompted a campus shutdown.
Further complicating this case is the state’s “raise the age” law which deals specifically with the 16-year-old and notes that he could be prosecuted in an extension of the state’s family court system.”
“They’ve developed a juvenile court that’s going to be a part of the family court,” said Gelson. “So it’s going to be a juvenile court system, assuming there’s not a process by which they’re going to waive the individual up.”
While they may not be charged with making a terroristic threat, they could face federal charges. Investigators confiscated 23 guns and three homemade bombs.
Gelson says those could be considered weapons of mass destruction.
“If they bring federal charges, that’s also incarceration without parole,” said Gelson.
Meaning they could face up to life without parole.