Members of Manitoba’s Jewish community have expressed shock and offered support following Saturday’s shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh that killed 11 people and injured six others, including four police officers.
President of Chevra Mishnayes Synagogue, Marshall Kneller, called the event “despicable” and offered thoughts and prayers to the families of all the victims and the injured officers.
Kneller also says the shooting is the result of other anti-Semitic acts across North America not being properly addressed and instead being allowed to fester.
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“It’s not only this incident, we can see from other incidents across Canada and the US that anti-Semitic acts and violence are on the rise,” Kneller said. “If it’s not shut down at the source, it’s being allowed to continue and escalate.”
“I guess the end result is you have something like this today.”
Kneller says that while nothing on the scale of Saturday’s shooting has happened here, they have experienced several other anti-Semitic acts.
Instances of graffiti on the synagogue and fires left inside the mailbox have happened multiple times, he says.
People have also taken knives to the doors of the building to inscribe messages.
Kneller also says that in a number of incidents, angry people have interrupted services to confront members.
“Sometimes people are just interested in what’s going on and they want to attend a service and that’s fine,” Kneller said. “We’ve also had on more than one occasion people come in being very abusive verbally, spewing anti-Semitic rants, and it did take a few of us to have them escorted out.”
Saturday’s shooting in Pittsburgh happened in the morning, during a baby-naming ceremony.
The FBI says suspect Robert Bowers, 46, was taken into custody and is believed to have acted alone.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the Justice Department will be pursuing hate crime charges.
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