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US$400 million boost in federal funds for security at US places of worship



US0 million boost in federal funds for security at US places of worship

A US$400 million increase in federal funding is available for security in places of worship, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced on Sunday.

The boost in money comes as concerns rise over threats against Jewish and Muslim communities, fuelled in part by the Israel-Gaza war.

Places like synagogues and mosques could apply to use the money to hire security personnel or install cameras under the new increase in funding to the existing federal Nonprofit Security Grant Programme, Schumer, a Democrat, said from New York City.

“We’re going to keep funding so that no synagogue or other religious institution is going to have to live in the fear that they now live with,” Schumer said.

The programme allocated US$305 million last year to non-profit to help protect their facilities from potential attacks.

Houses of worship will need to apply by May 21 to tap into the first round of funds.

Antisemitic incidents of assault, vandalism and harassment in the US more than doubled last year to a record high as anti-Jewish sentiment spiked after the start of the Israel-Gaza war in October, the Anti-Defamation League said in a report last month.

At least three synagogues and a museum in New York received bomb threats on Saturday but none were deemed credible by the New York Police Department, a city official and police said.

New York state Governor Kathy Hochul said on X state officials were “actively monitoring a number of bomb threats at synagogues in New York. Threats have been determined not to be credible”.

“We will not tolerate individuals sowing fear & antisemitism. Those responsible must be held accountable for their despicable actions,” Hochul said.

Manhattan Borough President Mark D Levine said on X the synagogue bomb threats were “a clear hate crime, and part of a growing trend of ‘swatting’ incidents targeting Jewish institutions”.

“This is a clear effort to sow fear in the Jewish community. Cannot be accepted,” he said.

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