A 21-year-old Muslim was arrested after throwing firecrackers at a packed synagogue in New Jersey. No injuries were reported.
According to charges filed against him, Rizek Musheisen, 21, threw lit firecrackers on Saturday night at a synagogue in Clifton, New Jersey, while yelling Allahu Akbar [God is great in Arabic] before fleeing in a car Saturday night. The synagogue was full but no injuries were reported.
Musheisen was charged with bias intimidation, possession of fireworks, harassment and criminal mischief, Detective Andy White stated, according to the North Jersey News. He was in the city’s lockup Sunday morning before bail was set.
According to a witness account, a black car with tinted windows pulled up in front of Ahavas Israel synagogue and a man got out, lit the firecrackers and yelled Allahu Akhbar. Police, acting on the account, discovered the car in a nearby parking lot.
They also found a bag of firecrackers in the trunk of the car while Musheisen was inside the vehicle with three other men, White said. The three were not charged, as authorities believe that Musheisen acted alone.
Police do not know if this was an isolated incident and caution residents to remain vigilant.
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman, the synagogue’s spiritual leader, issued a statement in which he condemned the incident and “all incidents of intolerance,” saying they were “inconsistent with the synagogue’s teachings and philosophy.”
“I was saddened to learn that certain individuals – whose actions are not representative of the views of the overwhelming majority of our neighbors – have chosen to act in ways which are inconsistent with the American way of liberty and justice for all.”