Leaders for a small Muslim community in upstate New York are reacting after the arrest of four people in Greece for a bomb plot.
Police say the four suspects, Andrew Crysel, Vincent Vetromile, Brian Colaneri and an unidentified minor, were arrested after police found three homemade bombs at a home in Greece. Officers also seized 23 firearms during searches of homes connected to the case.
According to the police department, the bombs were made from mason jars, black powder and projectiles like BBs and nails.
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 who overheard the minor say something during lunch.
Rashid Clark is the Mayor of Islamberg. Clark said the Muslim enclave is home to about 200 residents, many of them women, children and the elderly.
“We’re normal people in everyday life,” Clark said. “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,”. Clark said. “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 for conspiracy theories that accuse Islamberg of posing a threat to others. He says the community, which is now in its fourth generation, has produced professionals in the fields healthcare, technology, engineering and education.