The constant rise of Islamophobia has driven many attacks targeting Muslims over the years in many western countries. The most recent of these attacks was sabotaged before it even took place by a 16-year-old student who had suspicions about one of the attackers.
A student at the Greece Odyssey Academy in Greece, New York, is said to have shown a photograph of a person he suspected to be "a potential school shooter" to fellow classmates, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.
The alarming situation was reported to the school's officials, which later lead to an investigation and the arrest of four suspects.
Vincent Vetromile (19), Brian Colaneri (20), and Andrew Crysel (18), "all from suburban Rochester, were arrested and charged with criminal possession of a weapon and conspiracy, according to court documents." The fourth arrestee, a 16-year-old boy, remains unnamed due to his age.
The four men were caught with the possession of "23 legally owned shotguns and rifles" and "three improvised explosive devices."
Their target, Islamberg, is a rural settlement three hours away from Greece, founded in the 1980s by a Pakistani cleric, Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani. The town is home to Muslim families and serves as the headquarters of Muslims of America.
According to The New York Times, Greece's police chief, Patrick Phelan, said the suspects were plotting for at least a month for this attack, communicating via Discord - an application designed for video gamers to chat while they're in-game.
"All four suspects remained in custody as of Wednesday morning. The juvenile suspect is being held on a $1 million bail and is scheduled to return to court next week. The three adults, who are being held on $50,000 cash bails or $100,000 bonds, are scheduled to appear in court next month," NYT reported.
If the students did not report their suspicions to school officials, "people would have died," Phelan said.
Islamberg has been the target of many attacks and threats in the past.
According to BBC, "right-wing conspiracy-led media outlets like Infowars have suggested without basis it is a training camp for Islamist militants," which has tarnished the town's reputation.
The 200 and so residents of Islamberg are mainly of African-American origins, and have settled in this town to escape the crimes of New York City back in the 80s.
In 2015, a man from Tennessee was arrested after he was discovered plotting an attack on the town. Robert Doggart has been charged with 20 years in jail in 2017.
In the past years, an anti-Islam group called "Bikers United Against Jihad" has ridden their motorcycles and protested against the community.