18-year-old charged in connection with ‘broad threat’ to New Jersey synagogues

Anti-semitic incidents in New Jersey rose by 25 percent last year

An 18-year-old was arrested and charged on Nov. 10 for threatening to attack a New Jersey synagogue earlier this month, as anti-semitic acts continue to rise in New Jersey, according to residents and city officials.

Omar Alkattoul, of Sayreville, was charged by Federal prosecutors in Newark with one count of transmitting “a threat in interstate and foreign commerce,” which would result in up to five years in prison and $250,000 fine, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of New Jersey,

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Alkattoul admitted to writing a document titled “When Swords Collide” and sharing the content online.

“This attack was just to remind the Jews that as long as 1 Muslim remains in the world they will never live a pleasant life until the Muslims in Palestine, Syria, West Africa, and South Asia are living a please life,” said Alkattoul, under a section in the manifesto titled “The motive of the attack.”

The document also includes inflammatory language against Jews and Muslims, and the intent as stated by Alkattoul in the manifesto was “in the context of an attack on Jews.” In the court, prosecutors detailed how Alkattoul, who was a high school senior at the time, sent online messages on Sept. 11 stating “do not make fun of 9/11 because 19 good martyrs died on that same day,” as reported by the New York Times.

Gov. Phil Murphy acknowledged that threats to the Jewish community had been rising in the state and said “We are closely monitoring the situation and are working with local law enforcement to ensure that all houses of worship are protected,” Murphy tweeted.

New Jersey carries a high population of Jewish-Americans, about 8.2 percent of the population, according to the American Jewish Population Project 2020 Data. Anti-semitic incidents in New Jersey rose by 25 percent last year, reaching 370–the total is the most highest recorded in New Jersey according to data from the Anti-Defamation League.

On Dec.10, 2019, a firearm attack in a kosher market in Jersey City, resulted in the death of six people, including a police officer which the assailant was linked to the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, an extremist group with a history of anti-semetic and racist narrative.

“Hate crimes have no place in a country that welcomes and celebrates the cultures of everyone and we have to do more to protect those who are being targeted,” said Pamela Johnson, executive director of the Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Jordan Coll can be reached at jcoll@hudsonreporter.com.

Jordan Coll, Staff Writer
Jordan Coll, Staff Writer
Jordan Coll, is a journalist who currently lives in Jersey City. He graduated with a degree in journalism at Florida International University and is pursuing his masters at Columbia University School of Journalism.
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