News & Politics

Ohio Man Arrested for Planning ISIS-Inspired Mass Shootings Against Synagogues in Toledo

Photo of Damon Joseph, courtesy of the Department of Justice.

On Monday, the FBI announced that it had arrested 21-year-old Damon Joseph for planning multiple mass shootings at synagogues in the Toledo, Ohio, area. Joseph had reportedly been inspired by the Islamic State (ISIS) and announced his intention to target Jews on the Sabbath. He had also expressed hatred for gays, Christians, Catholics, and Jews.

Joseph was arrested on Friday after purchasing two AR-15 rifles and openly announcing his plans to kill many people, including a rabbi, the Times of Israel reported. According to an affidavit filed in the U.S. District Court in Toledo, Joseph said he was inspired by the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, Pa., in October, which killed 11.

Earlier this month, Joseph told an undercover FBI agent that the Tree of Life victims “got what was coming to them,” that Jews were evil, and that he was targeting synagogues in the Toledo area to carry out a mass shooting in the name of ISIS.

“I admire what the guy did with the shooting actually,” Joseph wrote to an FBI agent. “I can see myself carrying out this type of operation inshallah. They wouldn’t even expect [an attack] in my area.”

The affidavit claims that Joseph was deciding between two synagogues as late as December 4. He said the choice “would depend on ‘which one will have the most people, what time and what day. Go big or go home.'”

On December 6, he had chosen a synagogue, telling the FBI agent “he had conducted research to determine when the Jewish sabbath was so that more people would be present.”

If convicted of terrorism, Joseph could face up to 20 years in prison.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) praised law enforcement for preventing this planned ISIS attack.

“We are tremendously grateful to law enforcement at both the federal and local levels for apprehending the suspect, and for working so diligently to prevent terror from hitting our community,” ADL Cleveland Regional Director Jeremy Pappas declared. “The Jewish community is still grieving following the October attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. We can never let that happen again.”

“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,” Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said in a statement. “As Hanukkah concludes this evening, all Toledoans should reflect on the holiday’s themes of liberation, identity, and most importantly, freedom from religious persecution.”

While the Islamic State has suffered serious defeats in the region of Iraq and Syria — the heartland it attempted to conquer — the radical Islamic terrorist group continues to plague the world with isolated terror attacks. In 2017, ISIS carried out at least 17 terror attacks in the West, and more elsewhere.

Groups like ADL have rightly condemned the anti-Semitism behind the Tree of Life shooting and Joseph’s plans for terror in Toledo, but liberal groups are so focused on hate from the Right they often overlook the many Democrats who have taken photos with notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan. Even worse, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), often an ally of the ADL, overlooked the rampant anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial across the Muslim world

America must remain committed against radical Islamic terrorism and anti-Semitism from both the Right and the Left. The arrest of Damon Joseph proves that radical Islamic terrorism is still a threat today, and Americans must remain vigilant.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.