A New Jersey man admitted Wednesday to having a hand in an antisemitic threat posted online last year, which led to increased security at synagogues.
In front of a federal judge, Omar Alkattoul pleaded guilty to a charge of transmitting a threat in interstate and foreign commerce. The 19-year-old could now face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The charge was in relation to a manifesto titled "When Swords Collide" posted to social media on Nov. 1, 2022. Prosecutors allege Alkattoul admitted he wrote the document when he sent someone a link to it. https://dashboard.newsy.com/story/139435/#A second recipient said Alkattoul sent it to at least five people through another social media platform.
In the manifesto, Alkattoul states, "It's in the context of an attack on Jews," and accuses Jewish people of promoting hatred against Muslim people. and admitted to targeting a synagogue.
New Jersey District Attorney Philip Sellinger said the threats prompted a state-wide alert and "put the community on edge," as authorities believe he posted it with the intent of carrying out the threat against places of worship.
"No one should be targeted for violence or with acts of hate because of how they worship," Sellinger said. "Protecting our communities of faith and places of worship is at the heart of this office's mission."
"The laws of our nation allow for everyone to express themselves. However, when that expression turns into a specific threat toward others, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies must take action," said James E. Dennehy, FBI special agent in charge of the Newark Field Office.
Last year, the Anti-Defamation League received reports of more than 3,600 antisemitic incidents, the most the organization has ever recorded.
Alkattoul's sentencing is set for Nov. 14, 2023. Sellinger said federal authorities intend to seek a penalty "that will hold him accountable."
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