Arkansas shooter researched Jewish sites

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The man charged with killing a solider in an attack on an Arkansas military recruiting center on had been researching Jewish sites.

Abdulhakim Mujahaid Muhammad, an American convert to Islam who opened fire Monday on the recruiting office in Little Rock, had conducted research on other targets, including military sites, government facilities and Jewish institutions, according to law enforcement officials.

Muhammad had looked at Jewish entities in Little Rock, Philadelphia, Atlanta, New York, Louisville and Memphis, the officials said. They believe he acted alone, was angry about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and said he was targeting U.S. soldiers "because of what they had done in the past."

Muhammad pleaded not guilty Tuesday to one count of capital murder and 16 counts of committing a terrorist act.

He once was detained in Yemen for carrying a false Somali passport and other counterfeit documents, according to The New York Times, but the FBI could not at the time find any connection to extremist groups.

The Secure Community Network, the organization set up by United Jewish Communities and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations to coordinate security in the Jewish community, distributed an e-mail notification to its members on Tuesday evening with the information about Muhammad’s research into Jewish sites.

Paul Goldenberg, SCN’s exexcutive director, noted multiple incidents in the past three weeks in which "homegrown terrorists have either searched for or indicated that they want to cause harm to Jewish entities or Jewish institutions" — referring also to the terror plot targeting Bronx synagogues and the man who was found in possession of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" after killing a Jewish Wesleyan University student.

While stressing that there was no evidence the incidents were connected, "my recommendation is the community continues its vigilance in regard to its security," Goldenberg said.

SCN will be hosting a Department of Homeland Security-led webinar on June 11 for its member organizations on how to better identify and report hostile surveillance and suspicious activities at their institutions.

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