WEEKLY UPDATE 06/09/2020
We've all been through a very harrowing time and hopefully you and your family are healthy. As some restrictions begin to relax, understand that we are not totally free of the very intrusive virus. PLEASE continue to practice social distancing and wearing your face masks. We've done a great job limiting our exposure, but medical experts are telling us if we let up our efforts we will see a reemergence and many more illnesses and deaths.
Guidance for Houses of Worship During COVID-19 Social Distancing Limitations
Vandals ransacked the small Kol Yehouda Sephardic congregation in Montreal. Authorities described the incident as one of the worst local synagogue desecrations in recent memory. The damage includes prayer shawls and tefillin stuffed in toilets, Torah scrolls cut up and tossed on the floor and other religious items seriously damaged. Anti-Semitic graffiti was also illegibly scrawled on items.
Federal authorities have charged Nicholas Proffitt, also known as Nicholas Stearns of Cape Girardeau, MO with setting fire to the Islamic Center of Cape Girardeau. The center's security system captured Proffitt throwing objects to break a window and then tossing two containers of accelerant into the building. Once lit the fire spread rapidly throughout the building causing heavy damage. This is Proffitt's third arrest in the past fifteen years relating to property damage at Islamic Centers, his second at the Islamic Center of Cape Girardeau.
Police in McAllen, TX have charged Erica Garza with criminal mischief for defacing the Temple Emanuel Synagogue. It is alleged that Garza spray painted the front doors of the synagogue with anti-Semitic graffiti. Although not charged, Garza remains a suspect in identical incidents at the Basilica of our Lady of San Juan and the Shiv Shakti Temple. Garza had once made a membership application to the synagogue but was not accepted after she would become upset and start to yell anti religious comments.
Authorities in Birmingham, AL are seeking help in trying to determine who seriously vandalized the Community Primitive Baptist Church. Investigative theory at this point is the attack may have come from within. The power to the church had been turned off to conserve while the church was closed for the COVID-19 quarantine. The suspect(s) actually went to the electrical control panels and turned on the church lights. The church was heavily ransacked but no evidence of anti-Religious acts were observed.
Quarantine restrictions on church services due to the COVID-19 virus, members of Congregation Keneseth Isreal of Allentown, PA elected to conduct their services via Zoom. To their amazement the service was Zoombombed, which allows people to scroll websites and find invitations to join the virtual meeting. The bombers began to bombard the service with vicious anti-Semitic and racial slurs. The congregation estimates that as many as a half dozen bombers participated. The following recommendations are made:

  • Disable autosaving chats
  • Disable file transfers
  • Disable screen sharing for non-hosts
  • Disable remote control
  • Disable annotations
  • User per-meeting ID, not personal ID
  • Disable "Join Before Host"
  • Enable "Waiting Room"

  • Assign at least two co-hosts
  • Mute all participants
  • Lock the meeting if all attendees are present
Always make sure that Zoom,or any other video meeting software, is up-to-date and you have virus protections on your computer.
The Muslim community in Indiannapolis, IN is calling for a hate crime investigation into an incident where shots were fired into Masjid E Noor. Someone fired several shots into the mosque as members celebrated Eid Al-Fitr, one of the holiest days of the Muslim calendar. Fortunately attendance was limited due to the COVID-19 quarantine rules and members were able to take cover. The FBI is assisting local law enforcement authorities.
We have received numerous inquiries about the policies of our Police Department. In an effort to become a closer and more unified Anne Arundel County we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions. We welcome the opportunity to continue to be transparent and build bonds with our community.
I would welcome the opportunity to talk with your church family and discuss congregation safety and security. Working together we can come up with suggestions and ideas to better protect you from different threats, both man-made and natural.