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Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer says that recent comments by Kanye West have contributed to the problem.

The FBI warned on Thursday that there was a credible threat to synagogues in New Jersey, asking that they take security precautions to protect their communities and buildings.

“Stay alert,” the FBI’s field office in Newark said in a brief statement. The statement shared no specific details about the threat. FBI agents were investigating the matter, the statement said.

“We will share more information as soon as we can,” the statement said.

Less than 3 percent of Americans are Jewish, and synagogues across the United States have long been wary of the threat of anti-Semitic attacks. This was heightened in 2018 when a man attacked congregants gathered for Sabbath services at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, killing 11 people with a semi-automatic rifle.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security warned in February of heightened threats from extremist groups against synagogues, churches and historically Black colleges and universities.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said in a statement that his office was “working with local law enforcement to ensure that all houses of worship are protected.”

Five years ago, two New Jersey men were sentenced to 35 years in prison after being convicted for a series of attacks in 2012 that included the fire bombings of two synagogues. They also threw a Molotov cocktail into the home of a rabbi as he slept with his wife and children.

Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer, whose district encompasses part of the area in northern New Jersey affected by those attacks, said in a statement Thursday that recent comments by Kanye West and the social media post shared by NBA star Kyrie Irving have contributed to the problem.

“I am deeply concerned and outraged by today’s alert from the FBI,” Gottheimer said. “This is what happens after years of antisemitic comments from public figures, including, most recently, Kanye West, Kyrie Irving, and others,” he said.

Source: With Agencies

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