SOMERVILLE, NJ - New Jersey Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-7 hosted an Interfaith security briefing for local clergy and faith leaders yesterday.

In 2018 New Jersey had the third highest number of anti-Semitic incidents in the nation, and faith institutions in New Jersey and across the country have increasingly been requesting a security presence from local law enforcement.   

Mohamed Telab, Chief of Protective Security, Region II from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Chris Thoresen, Senior Public Information Assistant of the New Jersey State DHS briefed attendees on available grant funding and workshops for facility preparedness.

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They also provided an overview of services available from state and federal law enforcement to better prepare houses of worship to handle potential security threats.

Elizabeth Neumann, Assistant Secretary for Threat Prevention and Security Policy in the Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans at DHS also attended and credited Malinowski’s ongoing advocacy for substantially increasing the number of staff she has to work with states and local communities to meet the threat of domestic terrorism.

Over 80 faith leaders attended including representatives from the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, Temple Emanu-El in Westfield, Temple Sinai in Summit, the Garden State Sikh Association, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, St. Mark’s AME Church in Cranford, and Watchung Avenue Presbyterian in North Plainfield.

“Violence motivated by hate is on the rise in America, and New Jersey has seen more than our share. I will keep doing everything in my power to ensure the federal government has the right strategy and enough resources to help us fight back,”  Malinowski said.

“It is very reassuring to know that our congressional representative is being proactive in bringing together resources to secure our faith community and facilities,” said Rabbi Arnie Gluck of Temple Beth-El.