Attack in synagogue

Attack in synagogue

Attack in synagogue © Jan Woitas

On the last day of the Jewish Passover, a woman was killed in a shooting at a synagogue in California. Possibly the attack is related to a fire at a mosque in California last month.

A suspect has been arrested after the deadly attack on a synagogue in California. The man allegedly shot around with a rifle in Poway, north of San Diego, on Saturday, Mayor Steve Vaus told U.S. broadcaster CNN. In the process, he killed a woman and injured the synagogue's rabbi, an eight-year-old girl and a 31-year-old man. Motive of the act on the last day of the Jewish Pessach celebration was hate against Jews according to police statements. U.S. President Donald Trump condemned all anti-Semitism in a reaction.

Link to arson attack on mosque?

The alleged perpetrator, a 19-year-old student from California, had allowed himself to be arrested without resistance, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said. The man probably acted alone.

Meanwhile, police are investigating a possible link between the synagogue shooting and an arson attack last month on the nearby Escondido mosque. To that end, a campaign pamphlet published on the Internet and attributed to the arrested man is being examined for authenticity, Sheriff Gore said. It says Jews deserve "nothing but hell": 'I will send them there'."

The author also refers to the suspected attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, with 50 deaths, according to police reports. In the letter, the author also claims responsibility for the as yet unsolved arson attack on the mosque in Escondido.

Trump: 'Entire nation mourns'

U.S. President Trump said "the evil of anti-Semitism and hatred" must be defeated. "Our entire nation mourns the loss of life, prays for the injured and stands in solidarity with the Jewish community," he said at a campaign appearance in the state of Wisconsin.

Authorities say security has been stepped up for houses of worship and religious centers. There is no explicit increased threat level, it said. "We encourage our communities to proceed with planned events and other activities as usual," Sheriff Gore said.

Central Council of Jews: "Attack on our values"

Representatives of Judaism in Germany have expressed shock at the attack on a synagogue in California. The attack was not only an attack on the freedom of Jews worldwide; "it is at the same time an attack on our liberal democratic society and on our values," the Central Council of Jews in Germany wrote on its Facebook page on Sunday.

The president of the Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria, Charlotte Knobloch, said that "combating hatred and intolerance, and anti-Semitism in particular, remains the most urgent task of all of us against this backdrop – in the United States, in Germany and around the world".

Rabbi: Internet partly to blame

The Conference of European Rabbis sees social media as partly responsible for the deadly attack on a synagogue in California over the weekend. A 19-year-old student was arrested for the suspected anti-Semitic act that left one dead and three injured near San Diego, who police said had previously spread hate slogans against Jews on the Internet.

"The major Internet corporations and their techies should be held accountable for providing a platform for racism, anti-Semitism and hate," Rabbinical Conference President Pinchas Goldschmidt told the Catholic News Agency on Sunday. "The 5.Facebook's 700 employees monitoring hate material from its 2 billion users is a sad joke."

Goldschmidt went on to say the act follows "recent heinous attacks against worshipers and houses of worship in Rheims, Pittsburgh, New Zealand and Sri Lanka," the rabbi said. "Houses of worship are increasingly becoming preferred targets for terrorists, bigots and religious extremists." In light of this, houses of worship would have to be properly protected by their governments and firearms restricted. "More than words should be the appropriate response to this new trend," Goldschmidt urged.

Anti-Semitism commissioner: gun law has fatal consequences

"If a perpetrator is radicalized by hatred on the Internet, he can buy a rifle or a pistol faster than, say, in Germany and Europe. This can have fatal consequences," said Felix Klein, the German government's anti-Semitism commissioner.

Tougher gun laws would be "a better protection for Jews and other enemies of hate in the U.S.," the federal government's representative for Jewish life in Germany said.

Klein expressed concern that hatred against Jews is becoming "more uninhibited" in Germany and the United States. Donald Trump's style, he said, exacerbates the political and social climate and places "a focus on strongly pro-Israel policies".

Foreign Minister Maas said in Berlin, "The attack on the Chabad of Poway synagogue in San Diego affects all of us. Our thoughts are with the families of those killed and with those injured."

Central Council of Muslims condemns "horrific act"

Aiman Mazyek, chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, called on Twitter to stand together against hatred and injustice. "Right-wing, religious, nationalist, ideological and left-wing extremism kills," he added.

His organization condemns "this horrific act as an act against humanity".

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