Hours after issuing a rare warning about safety risks at a New Jersey synagogue, the FBI identified a man with “radical extremist views” as the source of the threat, a federal official told faith leaders Friday morning.
It was not immediately clear if he was in custody, but officials said the threat had been “reduced.”
“He is no longer a threat to the community,” James E. Dennehy, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Newark office, said on a morning conference call with state and federal law enforcement officials and more than 500 Jewish leaders.
gentlemen. Investigators believe the New Jersey man acted alone, but they are continuing to pursue leads about people he may have come into contact with, Dennehy said.The man was not identified, officials provided no other information on whether he was charged with a crime.
He was located Thursday night and questioned for “several hours,” officials said.
“He expressed radical extremist views and ideologies, as well as extreme hatred of the Jewish community,” Mr. Dennis said.
Incidents of harassment and violence against Jews and Jewish institutions have increased across the country, with celebrities such as rapper Kanye West (who goes by the name Ye) and basketball player Kyrie Irving being criticized for anti-Semitic posts on social media The attack intensified.
Anti-Semitism in America
Anti-Semitism is one of the most persistent forms of prejudice, and those who oversee it say it is now on the rise across the country.
It is against this backdrop that the FBI’s Newark office decided Thursday afternoon to issue a exception warning It said on social media that it had received “credible information about a broad threat to synagogues” in New Jersey.
During the conference call, that also included the governor. Philip D. Murphy and the State Attorney General, Mr. Matthew J. Platkin. The FBI realizes the breadth and uncertainty of the warning is unsettling for many, Danehy said.
But he said the decision was made to announce the threat immediately given the timing — just before the Jewish Sabbath, as the children were due to be released from religious schools on Thursday.
“We want to reach the widest possible audience in the fastest way possible,” he said. “We did not intend to cause panic or panic.”
gentlemen. Murphy said by phone that while he was pleased to have the man found quickly, he understood that this was still a worrying time for Jewish residents as incidents of anti-Semitism increased across the country.
“As tonight is the Sabbath, we don’t want anyone to be scared when they go to the synagogue,” Mr. Murphy said. “We will do what we have to do to ensure that everyone can pray in safety, security and peace.”
Last year, New Jersey had the second-highest number of anti-Semitism incidents in the nation, after New York, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
Of the 370 incidents reported statewide, 44 occurred at Jewish institutions and involved harassment, vandalism and assault, according to an audit conducted by the coalition.
Rabbi Yisroel Bursztyn, founder of the Lakewood, N.J.-based Jewish organization National Association of Pastors, said he was grateful that law enforcement agencies didn’t take Thursday’s threats lightly.
“Living in fear is never an option,” said Rabbi Burstine, a pastor who works closely with law enforcement and correctional facilities.
Scott Richman, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League’s New York and New Jersey offices, said the group saw an increase in hate incidents after Ye’s anti-Semitic remarks on social media came to light.
A week later, a banner hangs on a Los Angeles freeway reading “Kanye is right about Jews” similar posters Mr. appeared on a road in Yonkers, New York. Richman said. He noted that laser images with similar information were also projected on a football game and buildings in Jacksonville, Florida.
“It’s all just about jumping on the Kanye bandwagon,” he said, adding, “all of this breeds more anti-Semitism.”