NEW JERSEY – A Middlesex County man has been arrested and charged for making threats online to attack a synagogue and Jewish people, state officials said.
Omar Alkattoul, 18, of Sayreville, was charged with one count of transmitting a threat in interstate and foreign commerce.
The threat was made on or about November 1 to which the FBI issued a warning across the state to the Jewish community. The FBI later said the threat was “mitigated,” however towns such as Lakewood Township provided extra patrols by law enforcement at synagogues and yeshivas.
“No one should be targeted for violence or with acts of hate because of how they worship,” U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said. “According to the complaint, this defendant used social media to send a manifesto containing a threat to attack a synagogue based on his hatred of Jews. Along with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, we acted swiftly to respond to the alleged threat…Protection of these communities is core to this office’s mission, and this office will devote whatever resources are necessary to keep our Jewish community and all New Jersey residents safe.”
According to the criminal complaint, Alkattoul posted on social media a link to a document he wrote entitled “When Swords Collide” to which he spoke about an attack on Jews.
In the document, Alkattoul allegedly wrote the following: “I am the attacker and I would like to introduce myself…” He then listed reasons for his attack and hoped others would follow suit.
Alkattoul is facing up to five years in prison for the charged against him, as well as a fine of a $250,000.
“When we learn of credible threats to our community – whether based in hate toward religion, race, sexual orientation, or gender – we call on law enforcement and community partners to assist in identifying and mitigating that threat,” Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy said. “Let it be known that when a threat of violence comes to our attention, the FBI and our partners will respond to keep the public safe.”