DALLAS (CBSNewsTexas.com) — A call for protests and displays Friday from a former leader of Hamas has North Texas authorities and the Jewish community on edge.
It is being interpreted as a threat by some, including local Muslim leader Hadi Jawad, who is instead calling for peace and unity.
As a humanitarian rights activist, Jawad has spent his life condemning violence, including what he saw happening in Israel last week.
“It was devastating to see the news coming out of Israel. The attack by Hamas forces a total contravention of humanitarian law,” he said. “It’s terrible. It’s absolutely horrible.”
Jawad is troubled by the statement to show anger and says these protests and displays would create backlash against him and other Muslims.
“There’s plenty of animosity against Muslims in this country. Islamaphobia is alive and well this country, we all know that,” he said. “I’m afraid we might see replication happen after 9/11. It’s a horrifying thought…I hope calm heads will prevail.”
The Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas issued a statement saying it’s aware of calls for individuals and groups around the world to dedicate Friday, Oct. 13, to pro-Hamas activism. “While no direct, credible threats have been identified at this time, the situation remains dynamic.”
Jewish churches, schools and other institutions have already had their security on high alert since Hamas unleashed violent attacks inside Israel Saturday.
Local authorities are also keeping a closer eye on them with Dallas police issuing a statement saying it has “increased visibility around houses of worship.” The department also stated that officers will “always respond” if there is a need or a call for service.
The Texas Department of Public Safety says it also has concerns, stating the current conflict “could inspire homegrown violent extremists and foreign terrorist organizations operating in the United States to target the Jewish community and institutions.”
In spite of this, DPS is reminding residents about its iWatchTexas app, which has become an effective tool for reporting suspicious activities and stopping threats before they are carried out.
Source : CBS News