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Senate increases security funding for religious groups

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. Senate passed a bill that increases funding for the protection of civil, religious and community institutions against terrorist attacks.

The Homeland Security Appropriations Bill allocated an additional $5 million in federal resources for a total of $20 million to safeguard high-risk nonprofit organizations.

United Jewish Communities, one of the bill’s vocal supporters, welcomed its passage.

“Since Sept. 11th, nonprofits generally — and Jewish community buildings and institutions specifically — have been the victim of an alarming number of threats and attacks,” said William Daroff, vice president for public policy and director of UJC’s Washington office. “Congress continues to do its part by supporting this program to help make our communities and institutions safer.”

The increase in funding is in part a response to recent plots targeting religious institutions, including a foiled plan to bomb several synagogues in New York and the shooting attack at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

Among the bill’s sponsors were Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer, both New York Democrats, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.).

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