Extremists inspiring terrorism in metro Detroit?

Posted: 11:35 PM, Aug 26, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-26 23:35:07-04

Homegrown terrorism is becoming a bigger problem in the United States and in Michigan.  

Since September 11, 2001, more than 300 fatal Jihadist attacks large and small have happened in the US and-- according to the FBI-- all were done by US citizens or legal immigrants.

The FBI is currently investigating 900 cases in all 50 states including active cases here.

A key figure who inspired terrorism is Anwar Al Awlaki. He was born in the US and became an Imam. He radicalized Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, famously known as the “Underwear Bomber” after he tried to blow up a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.

President Obama ordered Awalki killed in part because of that. It was carried out by a US drone in 2011.

But Awlaki lives on with his online messages and experts say ISIS has now taken it to the next level.

Two recent cases include 29-year-old Sebastian Gregerson who now faces weapons charges by the feds after he tried to buy five M-67 grenades from undercover FBI agents. Because he had no criminal record, he also legally bought:

--Seven rifles, two of of them were AK-47 assault rifles
--Tactical shotgun with a folding barrel
--Two handguns
--20 knives
--Body armor with military style metal plates

The feds say he talked about “attacking a building” and was prepared to “launch a full tactical response to law enforcement if they came for him.”  He remains locked up in federal custody. His family and defense attorney are not talking.

Another case involves 24-year-old Medical School Graduate Mohammed Masha who was living in Flushing outside of Flint and skipped the country to travel to the Middle East in 2015. The feds are investigating whether he is giving medical assistance to ISIS or tried to recruit members while here.

Both young men posted materials in support of ISIS on social media before they were arrested.

The old saying remains true: If you see something, say something. This includes anything you see among your neighbors or on social media. Tips to the FBI have started several investigations into homegrown terrorists.  They have to stay one step ahead to keep us safe.