National Security

FBI, DHS warn faith-based communities will likely remain targets for violence

A Monday letter from top officials in the the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned that faith-based groups are likely to remain targets of violence.

“Faith based communities have and will likely continue to be targets of violence by both domestic violent extremists and those inspired by foreign terrorists,” FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate and John D. Cohen, who is the top intelligence official at DHS, said in the letter, which was obtained by CNN.

The letter also said online platforms linked with domestic violent extremism had discussed Jewish targets in connection with conspiracy theories about the pandemic, the results of the 2020 election and “even the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and resettlement of Afghans to the United States,” according to CNN.

The letter comes shortly after several hostages were held for hours at Congregation Beth Israel, a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, over the weekend before one was released and the other three escaped.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas also said on Sunday that DHS would work alongside Congress to increase funding to allow faith-based groups to enhance their security and provide more protection against terrorism, hate crimes and targeted violence, CNN reported.

Mayorkas added that Congregation Beth Israel had received a grant from DHS grant through the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, per the outlet.

“This kind of threat did not begin when this attack started yesterday, and it will not end with the hostages free,” Mayorkas said at a press conference, according to CNN.

“We need to ensure that we not only protect our houses of worship and all places of assembly, but that we become aware of the signs that someone is going down a path toward violence,” he added.
Tags Alejandro Mayorkas Congregation Beth Israel Department of Homeland Security DHS domestic terrorism domestic violent extremism FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation
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