FUNNY, I’LL BET THIS STORY WOULD HAVE GOTTEN MORE PLAY IF HE’D BEEN A TEA PARTIER: Kansas terrorism plot: The American engineer turned unlikely jihadist: Family and neighbours express disbelief as unassuming 58-year-old aviation electrician alleged to be new face of Islamic terror in American heartland.

To his neighbours in the quiet residential neighbourhood where he has lived since 1979, he was the quiet but polite man with the unkempt front garden. To his adult son, he was a “regular dad”.

But to their amazement, Terry Loewen is the unlikely new face of alleged Islamic home-grown terror after he was charged with plotting a pre-Christmas suicide bombing mission at the Kansas airport where he worked as an aviation electrician.

Mr Loewen was arrested as he arrived early on Friday at Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita in a car that he thought was packed with explosives As the name of the airport indicates, this is the American heartland, far away from the usual targets for terrorist plots and breeding grounds for extremism.

But Tea Party terrorists seem a lot less common than the Islamic variety. Even in Kansas.