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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org or 212. 983.4800, ext 132) or Dov Horwitz at (email@example.com or 212 983.4800, ext. 129) if you need more information.
Thanks to the great work of Rob Goldberg we have some preliminary information from DHS.
- DHS currently expects to release the guidance to the state on May 9th. The DHSES staff (aka our friends in Albany) will then put out the Request For Applications just as soon as they reasonably can.
- The most significant change this coming year is that preference will be given to nonprofit organizations that have not received prior years funding. That doesn’t mean that past grantees can not apply. However, they will be at a competitive disadvantage.
- We do not yet know when the applications will be due. We continue to advise you to download the Investment Justification from last year and to begin to prepare answers to those questions ASAP. This year the Investment Justification will be in MS Excel format. You will be able to paste your answers into the new DHS template.
Note that all of this information is tentative. The JCRC webpage (www.jcrcny.org/securitygrants) will have ongoing guidance. The JCRC plans to hold a webinar on the grant guidance soon after it is released.
We received the following from our good friend, NY OHS Director Tom Donlon:
Thank you once again for your continued assistance in notifying your membership of the New York State Office of Homeland Security’s (OHS) non-profit homeland security preparedness study and online survey available on our website, www.dhses.ny.gov.
I write one final time to ask you to remind your members that the deadline for submitting a completed survey is this Friday, January 15th. As I stated in my December 28th email, we are making every effort to ensure broad participation in this study through OHS’ online survey and your past efforts in bringing awareness to this study has been very instrumental in receiving many responses from organizations across the state.
If you have questions regarding the non-profit homeland security preparedness study, or if we can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact OHS’ Acting General Counsel, Thomas K. McCarren, at (212) 849-4467
Thomas G. Donlon
If you haven’t already done so please take a few minutes to respond. Thanks.
Get more information to secure your Jewish institution at www.jcrcny.org/security.