update deskAntisemitism

Man FBI head said planned attacks on Jews goes on trial in Houston

A man who overstayed his tourist visa by years faces a gun charge but may have planned for much more.

A judge's gavel. Credit: Corgarashu/Shutterstock.
A judge's gavel. Credit: Corgarashu/Shutterstock.

The trial of Sohaib Abuayyash, 20, got underway in Houston on Monday. He is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by an alien; if convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

FBI director Chris Wray said during congressional testimony in October that the FBI had arrested a man—later identified as Abuayyash—who “had been studying how to build bombs and posted online about his support for killing Jews.”

Abuayyash came to the United States in 2019 on a tourist visa. After it expired he requested asylum, claiming to be a Jordanian citizen.

The defendant’s order of detention, which kept him in custody until his trial, stated he supported radical groups, viewed bomb-making materials, called for killing “individuals of particular religious faiths” and referred to a Houston religious group’s event as a potential terror target.

According to a police source speaking with CNN, Abuayyash had been “plotting to attack a Jewish gathering.”

During jury selection, lawyers quizzed potential jurors on their views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and gun rights.

Abuayyash has pleaded not guilty.

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