The would-be mass murderer
The imam at the local mosque says nobody there knew Loewen, and so that’s that: they are thus neatly excused from having to answer any potentially uncomfortable questions about where he got his ideas about jihad. But the larger question remains: where did Loewen get his views of Islam (“the Internet,” we’re told), and what is the relation of his understanding of Islam to what we’re told is the genuine article? Why do so many Muslims continue to misunderstand Islam in this way? What is the imam of the Wichita mosque, or any mosque, doing to make sure that no more Muslims come under the sway of this lethal understanding of Islam that he ostensibly rejects?
“Man Arrested in Wichita Airport Bomb Plot,” by Andrew Grossman for the Wall Street Journal, December 13 (thanks to Kenneth):
Authorities on Friday arrested a 58-year-old man they accused of trying to commit a suicide bombing at a Kansas airport.
Terry L. Loewen, an avionics technician who worked at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, was arrested Friday morning after he tried to use his airport access card to drive onto the tarmac and set off what he thought was a bomb near the terminals, according to a complaint filed in federal court Friday.
The bomb was inert, authorities said. Mr. Loewen had constructed it with the help of a man he thought was tied to the wing of al Qaeda based in Yemen, but who was actually an employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the complaint said.
Prosecutors charged Mr. Loewen with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempting to damage property with an explosive and attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization….
According to the complaint, Mr. Loewen communicated online during the summer and fall with another FBI employee who also pretended to be connected to al Qaeda’s Yemeni arm, known as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Mr. Loewen told the FBI employee he had been inspired by the work of Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki, the AQAP leader killed in a drone attack in September 2011, the complaint said. Mr. Awlaki has been cited as an inspiration by others who attempted or committed attacks in the U.S., including the 2009 Fort Hood shooter and the alleged Boston Marathon bombers.
“By the time you read this I will””if everything went as planned””have been martyred in the path of Allah,” Mr. Loewen allegedly wrote in a letter cited in the complaint. The letter was left for his wife, according to a person close to the investigation. “There will have been an event at the airport which I am responsible for. The operation was timed to cause maximum carnage + death.”
A man who identified himself as Mr. Loewen’s 24-year-old son, Damien Loewen, said Mr. Loewen was “a really nice guy. Really laid back, really happy guy. I never thought this would happen.”
Speaking by phone, Damien Loewen said he had spoken to his father a month ago and didn’t detect anything amiss. He said he didn’t know about any turn toward Islam by his father.
At a news conference, Kansas U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said officials have “no indication that the defendant was involved or working with any member of any religious community in Wichita.”…