Teen arrested for synagogue shooting threats also wanted to ‘curb stomp’ queer people, FBI finds

Police gather outside a synagogue in Newark, New Jersey, following the discovery of the manifesto

An 18-year-old arrested for allegedly threatening to attacks synagogues also wanted to “curb stomp” LGBTQ+ people, the FBI said.

On Thursday (10 November), the US Justice Department announced that Omar Alkattoul of Sayreville, New Jersey, had been arrested.

The arrest relates to the publication of an online manifesto, titled “When Swords Collide”.

According to the criminal complaint against Alkattoul, when authorities conducted a consensual search of his phone, they found a message sent by the suspect in which he admitted to writing the manifesto, adding: “It’s in the context of an attack on Jews.”

Questioned by law enforcement on 4 November 2022, Alkattoul admitted that he had written the document, which read in part: “I am the attacker and I would like to introduce myself… I will discuss my motives in a bit but I did target a synagogue for a really good reason according to myself and a lot of Muslims who have a brain.

“Let’s be aware of the fact that the Jews promote the biggest hatred against Muslimeen even in the west… This attack was just to remind the Jews that as long as one Muslim remains in this world they will never live a pleasant life until the Muslims in Palestine, Syria, West Africa, and South Asia are living a pleasant life.”

According to the complaint, his phone also revealed that he had communicated to another individual that he “could conduct an attack on Jewish or gay people, but claimed that he did not have adequate resources to do so”.

“Specifically, Alkattoul stated that he told Individual-3 that he (ALKATTOUL) could attack synagogues or gay clubs,” the complaint continued.

“Alkattoul told law enforcement that he considered an attack on a synagogue in New York but would need two years to prepare for such an attack. Alkattoul said that he researched how to obtain a gun, shooting ranges, and mass shootings.

“He also said that if he were to conduct an attack, it would be a shooting attack. He said he would not feel bad for the victims but would feel bad for the families of the victims.” 

During questioning, Alkattoul told authorities that he was not a terrorist, but did admit to posting that he believed Jewish people were “cursed” and LGBTQ+ people should be “burned” by God, according to the FBI.

In one group chat, he said that he “would punch in the face or curb stomp the next ‘f****t’ he saw”, the FBI said, but Alkattoul claimed that he and others in the group chat were LARPing – a role-playing game – as terrorists.

“No one should be targeted for violence or with acts of hate because of how they worship,” said New Jersey District Attorney Philip Sellinger in a statement. “

“According to the complaint, this defendant used social media to send a manifesto containing a threat to attack a synagogue based on his hatred of Jews. Along with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, we acted swiftly to respond to the alleged threat.”

The 18-year-old has been charged with one count of transmitting a threat in interstate and foreign commerce. If convicted, the maximum penalty he could face is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.