‘Good Jews Do Not Exist’: New Jersey Man Charged for Synagogue Threat That Caused Statewide Alert
The Department of Justice announced on Thursday that it was charging a suspect with communicating a threat to attack synagogues in New Jersey earlier this month that caused a statewide FBI alert.
Omar Alkattoul, 18, of Sayreville, New Jersey, was arrested and charged with one count of transmitting a threat in interstate and foreign commerce in connection to a manifesto he posted on social media on November 1 about attacking Jews and synagogues. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
“I am the attacker and I would like to introduce myself. . . I am a Muslim with so many regrets but I can assure you this attack is not one of them and Insha’Allah many more attacks like these against the enemy of Allah and the pigs and monkeys will come,” Alkattoul wrote in the document, which he titled “When Swords Collide.”
“I will discuss my motives in a bit but I did target a synagogue for a really good reason according to myself and a lot of Muslims who have a brain,” he said.
The FBI’s Newark field office on November 3 issued an alert that there was a “credible” threat to synagogues in the state. On November 4, the FBI said that they had identified the suspect and he no longer posed a threat to the community. The criminal complaint against Alkattoul notes that the FBI had conducted a search of his phone on November 4 and discovered his manifesto.
In the manifesto, Alkattoul included a question and answer section that he addressed to himself titled “A Small Few Questions for Omar, Pt. 1.” Other sections of the manifesto included “Why hatred towards Jews is a good thing even if they’re not Zionists” and “The ‘good’ Jews,” in which he writes “Good jews do not exist unless if [sic] they convert to Islam.”
In the complaint against him, the FBI notes that Alkattoul claimed in an interview that the synagogue attack manifesto was a form of “live action role-playing,” that only part of it was real, and later that it was all a fake, claims later contradicted by Alkattoul himself during a hospital intake evaluation. Alkattoul reportedly told a hospital employee that “although some things he said on social media were a joke, one thing that was not a joke was his wanting to plan an attack on a synagogue.”
In a press statement announcing the charges, US Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said that federal, state, and local law enforcement had acted immediately to deal with the threat.
“There is nothing the US Attorney’s Office takes more seriously than threats to our communities of faith and places of worship. Protection of these communities is core to this office’s mission, and this office will devote whatever resources are necessary to keep our Jewish community and all New Jersey residents safe,” he said.