Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Anti-Semitic incidents were on the rise even before Pittsburgh shooting

Soldiers stand guard outside a synagogue in Neuilly sur Seine outside Paris France Tuesday Jan. 13 2015 Soldiers stand guard outside a synagogue in Neuilly sur Seine outside Paris France Tuesday Jan. 13 2015
Andrew Cummings | 30 October, 2018, 07:16

About 10 a.m. Saturday, the alleged gunman - identified as Robert Bowers, 46 - entered the synagogue and began shooting.

Scott Brady, US attorney for Pennsylvania's Western District, told reporters he could not say how long the investigation might take, but added, "We will spare no effort or resource in ensuring that the defendant is held fully accountable for his unspeakable and hateful crimes".

The synagogue was especially crowded on Saturday, a holy day in Judaism, with three different congregations holding service.

"We are devastated", said the group's head, Jonathan Greenblatt.

"Our goal is to make Pittsburgh a place for immigrants and refugees to call home if they want to", said Reverend John Welch, a chaplain for the Pittsburgh Police Bureau.

In social media posts before the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, the man charged in the massacre, Robert Bowers, appeared to accused the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society of aiding violent offenders among a group of asylum-seeking migrants walking from Honduras to the US border.

Apparently this festered with the terrorist, because just a few hours before he walked past those brochures and started murdering people at Tree of Life, he posted to a right-wing social media site, "HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people".

"The anti-Semitic instances rose 57 percent across the country", said Dena Marks, with the Anti-Defamation League in Houston.

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We are deeply saddened by the senseless violence at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue on Saturday morning. "I think it is an unbelievable turnout", he said.

In April 2014, Frazier Glenn Miller Jr. fatally shot a 69-year-old man and his 14-year-old grandson at a Jewish community center in suburban Kansas City, then killed a woman at the nearby Village Shalom retirement center.

In a separate report this month, the ADL warned that members of far-right extremist groups have stepped up their "online propaganda offensives" ahead of the upcoming midterm elections in order to intimidate Jewish journalists and politicians. "We will not be ruined".

Bowers was charged with 11 state counts of criminal homicide, six counts of aggravated assault and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation in what Mayor Bill Peduto called it the "darkest day of Pittsburgh's history". On June 17, 2015, nine members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, were murdered by 21-year-old white supremacist Dylann Roof, who was convicted of federal hate-crime charges and sentenced to death in January. He remained in hospital on Sunday, having had surgery, and is expected to appear before a judge on Monday afternoon.

The survivors included Daniel Leger, 70, a nurse and hospital chaplain who was in critical condition after undergoing surgery, his brother, Paul Leger, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Religious leaders from around Chicago gathered to insist that a sleeping giant had been roused - and that love will overcome.

Pope Francis led prayers for Pittsburgh in St. Peter's Square. But accounts controlled by real-life humans often mount the most "worrisome and harmful" anti-Semitic attacks, sometimes orchestrated by leaders of neo-Nazi or white nationalist groups, the researchers said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel slammed an act of "blind anti-Semitic hatred".

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