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Houses of worship step up security after deadly shooting at a San Diego synagogue

Posted at 7:23 PM, Apr 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-29 19:23:59-04

Governor Andrew Cuomo has directed state police to increase their security presence at houses of worship across New York.

The order comes after multiple deadly attacks on places of worship over the past several weeks.

Rick Zakalik, the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Center, said they upgraded security measures that are already in place, including training staff and monitoring facilities.

"Weapons are more sophisticated and terrorists are more sophisticated, but so are law enforcement agencies," he said. "And so are institutions like the JCC that have taken a lot of precautions, that have systems in place, that have training."

The JCC sent an email to its members Monday asking them not hold the door open for people who have not been scanned into the facility.

And if they see suspicious activity or unfamiliar faces, they're urged to tell staff members.

Faizan Haq, the President of WNY Muslims, said he's saddened to say that attacks happen too often.

"It's becoming a norm and that is very dangerous. It is not the norm and we should not take it as one," he said.

Haq said the Muslim community has hired a security agency for local mosques.

"It did not used to be like this, it doesn't need to be like this, but none the less we do that," he said.

"We all take it very seriously but we're all living our lives and making sure that we're not raising our children in an atmosphere of fear," said Zakalik.

"In the end we will prevail because history has proven that the messages of hatred has never been successful," said Haq. "The only thing that will prevail is justice and peace."

Zakalik said the JCC will continue to train staff and and monitor their facilities, as well as work with law enforcement and keep members informed.