Mayor Bloomberg explained in his opening remarks:
“Yesterday, detectives from the NYPD arrested two men who said they wanted to destroy a major synagogue in Manhattan, and then purchased several weapons and a hand grenade from an undercover officer.
“Fortunately, long before their aspirations could take hold, New York City police officers were watching them and were in a position to take them into custody, before they could maim and murder innocent New Yorkers.
Read Mayor Bloomberg’s full remarks here.
Ahmed Ferhani, 26, and Mohamed Mamdouh, 20, are charged with multiple felony counts and hate crimes carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole. In the course of the investigation Mr. Ferhani expressed clear anti-Semitism and asked an undercover officer whether he would join him in a plan to bomb a synagogue.
Manhattan DA, Cyrus Vance, Jr., noted:
“The defendants plotted and took concrete steps to bomb synagogues and kill Jewish New Y orkers as an act of terrorism”
Read DA Vance’s statement here. Read the full criminal complaint providing more details here.
NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly described the police activities leading to the arrests and commended NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence David Cohen and his team for their outstanding work. He also commented that:
“While there are no specific plots targeting New York City in the wake of Bin Laden’s death, this latest case reminds us that we must remain vigilant every day.
Read Commissioner Kelly’s account of the investigation here.
When the news of the arrests broke this morning the JCRC called for heightened vigilance and tighter access policies in a security alert to synagogues, yeshivot and other Jewish institutions. Read the recommendations here.
Organizations wishing to apply for Nonprofit Security Grants will find more information at www.jcrcny.org/securitygrants and can reserve for the JCRC May 23rd Grants Webinar here. Find guidance and practical suggestions on how to increase the security of your Jewish institution at: www.jcrcny.org/securityresources.
The New York Police Department performed expertly and heroically to prevent what would likely have been a vicious attack on a synagogue and members of the Jewish community resulting in death and destruction. We hail their professionalism.
The JCRC-NY has emailed a Security Alert to hundreds of Jewish institutions in the metropolitan area urging the heightening of vigilance, the review of security precautions and the tightening of access systems.
Anti-semitism is a core component of militant-Jihadist ideology, and we call on the federal government to continue and increase its effective Nonprofit Security Grant Program to assist non-profits and religious institutions for target security hardening measures.
Nonprofit Security Grant Program . The US Department of Homeland Security’s 2011 Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) will be opening soon, allowing nonprofits to apply for up to $75,000 for target hardening measures such as security hardware and related training. The JCRC-NY will provide a free webinar training detailing the specifics of the grant and the application process. The webinar will be held on Monday, May 23rd, from 1:00 to 2:30 pm and is accessible from any internet capable computer. Please click http://bit.ly/JCRCNPSGWebinar to RSVP to receive login information. The JCRC-NY has hosted trainings annually and those following the JCRC-NY’s suggestions have had a high success rate. Get more information on the grants at the JCRC Security Grants website (https://www.jcrcny.org/securitygrants).
Ongoing threat. In the aftermath of the killing of Bin Laden we should remember:
- Anti-Semitism is a core component of militant-Jihadist ideology;
- Anti-Semitism is a common tool in the radicalization process;
- Jewish-affiliated targets may be preferable for less sophisticated terrorists; and
- Jewish institutions may not be priority targets, but may become secondary targets or targets of convenience.
Feel free to contact David Pollock at (email@example.com or 212. 983.4800, ext 132) or Dov Horwitz at (firstname.lastname@example.org or 212 983.4800, ext. 129) if you need more information.
Over the last year the Westboro Baptist Church picketed Jewish organizations in the NYC metropolitan area on several occasions. Find out more about them and their tactics from the ABC News report: Raised to Hate: Kids of Westboro Baptist Church.
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