More details have emerged about the four men accused of plotting to bomb synagogues in the Bronx and shoot military places at the National Guard bas in Newburgh, NY and their ultimately unsuccessful plan. The men, Onta Williams, 32, James Cromitie, 44, David Williams, 28, and Laguerre Payen, 27, all Newburgh residents who were arrested after planting a 37-pound bomb (actually made of fake materials, provided by an FBI informant) outside one of the synagogues, are described as being Muslim, but the NY Times reports none of them were particularly active in their local mosque. The uncle of Onta Williams said his nephew "was not born Muslim. He's an institutional Muslim... He wasn't raised that way," adding that Onta Williams started following Islam after a stint in jail.
Newburgh's Times Herald-Record says the men were "casually religious"—"The four were Muslims, but those who knew them in Newburgh say they were more likely to kill the evening with a six-pack than attend Friday prayers. Devout Muslims generally avoid alcohol. Mostly, the men picked up Islam in prison and held lightly to the practices once on the outside." And the mother of James Cromitie, described as the ringleader, told reporters that when her Christian-raised son announced he was converting to Islam, she said, "Get out of here."
Still, it was at the Masjid al-Ikhlas mosque in Newburgh where the suspects met the informant, who apparently started working with the FBI after being busted for helping people cheat on DMV tests. Much of the suspects' actions were recorded by authorities: The NY Times describes that after they bought an air-to-surface missile and bombs in Stamford, CT, "They brought them back to Newburgh, locked them in a storage container, and celebrated, shouting, 'Allah akbar!'" They were originally going to buy guns from a dealer in Newburgh, but the dealer ran out, so David Williams ended up buying a gun for $700 from a Bloods gang member in Brooklyn.
All four men are being held without bail. Cromitie, Onta Williams and David Williams are American-born while Laguerre Payen is Haitian. Payen is described as schizophrenic and being off his meds; the Daily News says he was supposed to be deported but an immigration judge stayed the order because of his mental state. Here's more details on the suspects and here's the criminal complaint.