Arson, vandalism target Chicago Jewish community
Police said that that over the weekend, someone tried to set a fire outside Congregation Anshe Sholom on West Melrose in Lakeview. Police found broken glass bottles with an unknown substance and charred black towels.
CHICAGO (Fox 32 News) - Chicago Police are increasing security at local Jewish schools, businesses and synagogues after vandalism and an arson attempt that seem to target the Jewish community.
Police said that that over the weekend, someone tried to set a fire outside Congregation Anshe Sholom on West Melrose in Lakeview. Police found broken glass bottles with an unknown substance and charred black towels. No one was injured and there was no damage.
Police also said that cars near synagogues in Rogers Park were vandalized.
Surveillance images are helping police in their investigation and have been turned over to the FBI.
“You could see somebody walking behind the building carrying some things and you can see some fire," said Rabbi David Wolkenfeld of Anshe Sholom B’Nai Israel. "Just a shocking thing to see. An act of violence against a building that means so much to so many people.”
No one is in custody.
“People are fraught," Wolkenfeld said. "People are scared and I think the people who show up to find support in community, to pray together to assert that they’re proud to be Jewish, to continue to practice Judaism here in the heart of this neighborhood in the middle of the city, I think that’s a really beautiful inspiring thing to do.”
The FBI said that of the 1,749 religious hate crimes reported in 2017, Jewish Americans were far more likely to be targeted than any other religious group.
- 58.1 percent were victims of crimes motivated by their offenders’ anti-Jewish bias.
- 18.6 percent were victims of anti-Islamic (Muslim) bias.
- 4.3 percent were victims of anti-Catholic bias.
- 3.3 percent were victims of bias against groups of individuals of varying religions (anti-multiple religions, group).
- 2.3 percent were victims of anti-Protestant bias.
- 1.8 percent were victims of anti-Other Christian bias.