University of Sydney Says No Current Threat After Convicted Terrorist Said He Planned to Kill Jewish Students With Machete
The University of Sydney in Australia expressed support for its Jewish community this week following reports that a former student planned to attack his Jewish peers, and said it was “not aware of any current threats to students or staff.”
The statement came after Ihsas Khan, a former pharmacy student who stabbed his neighbor with a machete in 2016, admitted that he planned to use his weapon “on Jewish students in the university to kill them. Just people wearing the Jewish headgear, the kippah.”
“I was filled with hatred,” he said. “It was revenge for what was happening in Palestine.”
Khan, who has been described by prosecutors as a supporter of the Islamic State terrorist group, was found guilty earlier this month of carrying out a terrorist act and is now awaiting sentencing.
The university’s vice chancellor and principal, Michael Spence, indicated in a statement that reports of Khan’s plans were deeply disturbing.
“Harassment or discrimination of any kind has no place in our community,” Spence said. “We as a community reject religious hatred in all of its forms and stand behind the Jewish community, with which we share close ties.”
Rabbi Eli Feldman, who has served as the university’s Jewish chaplain for eight years, told The Algemeiner on Tuesday that Jewish students and staff reacted to news of Kahn’s planned attack “with consternation and shock. It’s quite unsettling.”
He noted that there had been “anti-Israel protests in the past and gatherings of groups such as the Socialist Alternative, which is extremely pro-Palestine and anti-Israel,” but did not recall previously encountering “any specific plans” to injure or kill Jewish students on campus.
Feldman said there did not appear to be a need to tighten security at the university, where the Jewish student population totals around 1,000, “particularly in the absence of any current threat.”
“The university has taken the steps of publicly displaying its support of the Jewish community and at this stage I do not see any further action necessary,” he noted.
In a separate statement, Feldman thanked Spence for extending “a hand of friendship and support to Jewish staff and students throughout his tenure, most recently by attending Shabbat Dinner at Newtown Synagogue last Friday night.”
“We are grateful for this support and are confident that Sydney University will continue to be a place where Jewish students and staff feel welcome and safe,” he added.