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Gottheimer announces steps to protect houses of worship, religious schools, college students, and NJ communities

Announces New Nonprofit Security Grants — $4.8M to NJ Houses of Worship, Schools

NEW JERSEY — U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) Monday joined the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, local law enforcement, and religious leaders to announce major steps to protect New Jersey’s college students, houses of worship and parochial schools, and communities across our state and country.

Since, October 7, when Hamas terrorists invaded Israel and brutally murdered, raped, burned alive, decapitated, and kidnapped more than 1,200 innocent babies, children, men, women, and elderly, including Americans, there has been a spike in hatred, antisemitism, and Islamophobia in America. Recently, FBI Director Christopher Wray stated that antisemitism in the United States is reaching “historic levels,” and that this is a time for “vigilance.”

New Steps to Protect College Students, Houses of Worship, Religious Schools, and Communities:

  •  First, Gottheimer is calling on the Department of Treasury and the Department of Justice to investigate campus groups, masquerading as student organizations, including in New Jersey, to examine whether they have financial ties or are providing material support to terrorists and their supporters.
    • Specifically, are they illegally receiving funding or providing material or financial support to terrorist groups like Hamas. We know that in the past, groups have been caught acting as a front and funneling money to Hamas from inside the U.S.
  • Second, Gottheimer is urging the Department of Education to investigate the alarming use of face masks at anti-Israel protests to intimidate students and sow dangerous chaos. These tactics violate students’ rights, under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, to a safe learning environment free from hatred.
    • Gottheimer is also calling on the Department of Education to examine whether university administrators’ lack of response to actions designed to intimidate and create hateful and dangerous conditions on campus, including at Rutgers, constitutes violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
    • Gottheimer also called on Rutgers President Holloway to immediately change his policy on masks at protests.
  • Lastly, Gottheimer announced that in the latest round of 2023 awardees, he helped claw back more than $4.8 million in new Nonprofit Security grant dollars to 34 houses of worship and religious schools across New Jersey’s Fifth District — the most out of any year since he came to Congress.
    • Nonprofit Security Grants provide critical investments for target hardening and physical security enhancements to help prevent, and keep communities safe from, terrorist attacks and other domestic threats.
    • This year’s federal investments include nearly $150,000 to the Glen Rock Jewish Center and $150,000 for a Sikh Gurdwara.
    • Since coming to Congress, Gottheimer has helped claw back more than $12 million in Nonprofit Security grants to protect our mosques, synagogues, churches, and parochial schools across Jersey – the most across the state.

Violence and Hatred Across America Following Hamas’ Terror Attack on October 7, 2023:

  • In the month following Hamas’s October 7 terror attack on Israel, antisemitic incidents in the U.S. increased by 316% compared to the same time period last year.
  • Despicable words and acts have been directed at Muslims based on the ridiculous notion that Hamas represents Islam and the Palestinian people.
  • In Illinois, a six-year-old Palestinian-American boy was brutally murdered.
  • Paul Kessler, a sixty-nine-year-old Jewish man and a peaceful protestor, was murdered in Los Angeles when a pro-Hamas supporter struck Paul, forcing him to fall backward and fatally hit his head.
  • At Grand Central Station, pro-Hamas supporters attempted to kick down doors and force police to set up barricades. The station had to be temporarily shut down. One of these people was tearing down American flags in New York City.
  • There have been Nazi flags at protests in cities across our nation. People screaming for the death of Jews, supporting Hamas, and saying Zionism equals Hitler.

Intimidation and Hatred on College Campuses:

  • At George Washington University, pro-Hamas students flashed “Glory to Our Martyrs” on the side of a building — glorifying terrorism and the murder of more than a thousand.
  • The University of Pennsylvania recently decided to host two well-known antisemitic and anti-Israel speakers.
  • At a University of Pennsylvania anti-Israel rally, a student speaker claimed the events of October 7 made her feel “so empowered and happy.”
  • Harvard and Rutgers students chanted “from the river to the sea” and continue to wear masks to hide their identities as they violently protest. This slogan means the eradication of Jews and Israel and Hamas includes it in their charter.
  • Students at Rutgers are wearing masks because they want to cause destruction and intimidate others, especially Jewish students, without being held accountable.
  • At the University of Maryland, so-called protestors chanted for an Intifada and graffitied “Holocaust 2.0” onto the sidewalk.
  • At Harvard, violent protestors surrounded a Jewish student.
  • On an online forum for Rutgers students, someone anonymously wrote: “Palestinian protestors, there is an Israeli at AEPi , go kill him.”

“I can’t help but think back to times during our nation’s history when cowards have worn masks, hiding their faces, and violently oppressed fellow Americans. It sickens me that at this very moment, students at Rutgers and across the nation are forced to live in fear or feel like they need to hide their faith,” Gottheimer said. “I will always defend the right to free speech, even when what’s being said is incredibly offensive. But, I won’t sit back when words and actions violate the law and put Jersey’s students and families in danger. We must take strong action against Hamas and other terrorist sympathizers, funders, and supporters, whether that’s in our neighborhoods, on our city streets, on social media, at our religious institutions, or on college campuses.”

“First, I’m calling on the Department of Treasury and the Department of Justice to investigate campus groups, masquerading as student organizations, including here in New Jersey, to examine whether they have financial ties to terrorists and their supporters. Second, I’m urging the US Department of Education to investigate the alarming use of face masks at anti-Israel protests as a way to intimidate and endanger students. These tactics are violating students’ right to a safe learning environment, free from hatred and violence, and I believe a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Finally, I’m working with the New Jersey Department of Homeland Security and Preparedness, local law enforcement, and all of our faith leaders – Christian, Jewish, Muslim, including Rabbi Schlosberg, to protect all of our communities. I want to thank the Governor and Sheriffs in all the counties I represent for assigning more law enforcement to our houses of worship and parochial schools this last month,” Gottheimer said.

“While we look overseas, especially right now in the conflict in the Middle East, this tells us that we can’t just stand on our laurels here with the money we have. We have to remain vigilant and stand up in solidarity against any form of hate and violence. After all, our common values outweigh our differences here,” said New Jersey Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness Director Laurie R. Doran. “In this third quarter, we logged more instances related to faith-based groups than we have in a number of years.”

Gottheimer was joined at the Glen Rock Jewish Center by New Jersey Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness Director Laurie R. Doran, Bergen County Assistant Prosecutor Vered Adoni, Glen Rock Jewish Center Rabbi Schlosberg, Glen Rock Police Chief Dean Ackerman, and Glen Rock Councilwoman Paula Gilligan.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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