Saturday, July 01, 2006

Residential African-American Mosque Raided By The FBI

Yesterday in Pittsburgh, a residential building said to double as a mosque and a school was raided by the FBI. This story was originally reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and there is discussion of the arrests at Jihad Watch and the Strategic Outlook Institute.

The members of the mosque/school, like most of those arrested recently in Miami, are African-American. Like those in Miami, they declare themselves to be Muslim but have no formal association with the local Muslim council. They had recently moved into the neighborhood and positioned themselves as neighborhood activists.

It is unclear if any of those at the house at the time of the search were arrested. Residents report that those found inside the residence were taken outside and searched, and that agents walked a police dog past them. The FBI also used a robot to enter the house. The Strategic Outlook Institute notes that the most likely purpose of police dogs and robots in this context would be that the FBI expected to find explosives.

UPDATE: The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has a more complete story on the raid. The authorities were searching for a "Larry M. Williams, who is wanted by federal authorities in Utah for possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon." Williams is also wanted on other charges in multiple states, inclduing failure to register as a sex offender in Washington. Williams is listed as a property owner in the Pittsburgh area, but no connection to the residence raided by the FBI is given in the Tribune story.

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