Man facing federal charges for shooting a shotgun outside a Jewish temple in New York

A 28-year-old U.S. citizen, originally from Iraq, has been federally charged for firing a shotgun outside a synagogue in New York City. Mufid Fawaz Alkhader of Schenectady, New York, was arrested near Temple Israel in Albany after firing a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun.

Alkhader was charged with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person due to his confessed marijuana use. If found guilty, he could face up to 15 years in prison, 3 years of post-imprisonment supervised release, and a maximum fine of $250,000. The incident occurred on Dec. 7 and while no one was harmed, children attending preschool had to take shelter during the police search of the area.

Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins said that the case is being investigated as a hate crime since Alkhader made anti-Semitic comments relating to the Israel-Hamas war. The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are also involved in the investigation.

The state of Alkhader’s mental health was brought up by a man who claimed to be his father, stating that his son is mentally ill. The shooting occurred on the first night of Hanukkah and comes as anti-Semitic threats have been on the rise since the Israel-Hamas war started on Oct. 7.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul condemned the shooting while speaking at the synagogue during Shabbat services on Dec. 8. She announced that state police and the National Guard would be on high alert and increasing patrols at at-risk sites during Hanukkah.

In a court appearance on Dec. 8, Alkhader was sent back to detention, where he seemed to have difficulty understanding instructions. He told the judge that his English is limited and that he speaks Arabic. A preliminary hearing or detention hearing date has yet to be set.

Hank Greenberg, a member of Albany’s Temple Israel and spokesperson for the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, expressed his frustration and fear, but also his confidence in the Jewish community’s strength.

The incident is deeply concerning and further emphasizes the need for increased security and protection of diverse communities in the face of hate crimes. The full article can be found [](


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