Senator Urges Greater Federal Investment to Provide Synagogues, Churches, Community Centers with Additional Resources to Protect Against the Threat of Terrorist Attacks
After a recent terror attack that took the lives of three young children, a rabbi, and three French soldiers at a Jewish school, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) today called on the federal government to boost anti-terror funding to help safeguard civil, religious and community institutions. Senator Gillibrand urged Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee leaders to designate at least $19 million for the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) non-profit program in next year’s budget, up from this year’s $10 million funding.
Senator Gillibrand wrote in a letter to Senate leaders of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, “The horrific attack against a Jewish school in France last week is a stark reminder of the threats that such organizations continue to face here in the United States. In my own state of New York, there have been instances of attempted terror plots against Synagogues and Jewish organizations… The FY2012 Consolidated Appropriations Act did not include a designated funding level for nonprofit security grants, and Congress must ensure that this grant program is well funded. Therefore, I strongly urge you to restore this funding to at least the Fiscal Year 2010 level of $19 million.”
Last week, French security forces killed an Islamist extremist who murdered seven people at a synagogue in France. Authorities said 23 year-old Mohamed Merah claimed to have received training from al Qaeda.
New York City remains a top terrorist target, with NYPD on alert immediately after the French tragedy. Over the past several years, there have been instances of attempted terror plots against New York City’s synagogues and Jewish organizations. Recent reports also revealed that Iranians with links to the Iranian regime have conducted surveillance of New York City landmarks since 2005.
Senator Gillibrand has long fought for anti-terror funding to protect New York’s non-profit and religious institutions. In 2009, Senator Gillibrand secured an additional $4 million in federal anti-terror funding to help safeguard civil, religious and community institutions from terrorist attacks in the FY2010 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, for a total of $19 million in federal resources, funding that was continued in FY2011.
Click here for the full text of Senator Gillibrand’s letter.