In New Jersey, in the United States, staff at a Palestinian community center are remaining vigilant following a caller having made over 30 phone calls to the center in 24 hours. The caller threatened to kill and sexually assault the all-female staff.
The caller identified himself as ‘Jebediah Morris’. Members of the Palestinian American Community Centre in Clifton, said that during one of the calls, Morris told the employees that he was located near the centre, and threatened to go over and beat the women.
When he asked several times if the staff were Palestinian, and was questioned about the relevance of that, he said, “So I know to come blow you up.” He accused PACC of being a terrorist organization, claiming that this information had come from the Israeli government and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Police are investigating the incident as a potential hate crime. Passaic County Sherrif, Richard Berdnik, said, “We will not tolerate any type of hate crime and any type of threat of intimidation. Every ethnic group, every community should feel safe.”
The MME reports that according to Abire Sabbagh, the center’s community engagement coordinator, staff were shaken by the calls. Sabbagh said, “They are fearful and rightfully so.” She added, “People are upset and angry that someone had the confidence to do this.”
The center has hired private security in addition to the patrols deployed by the police department.
PACC provides cultural, social and educational services. In 2020 it had provided meals for more than 400 families during the Covid-19 lockdown. According to Sabbagh, the PACC intends to continue, undeterred, with its programs and schedule.
Umm Muhammed Umar