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US may go tough on hate crimes … Aftermath of synagogue shooting

Indications are that the United States of America is reviewing its strategy against hate crimes, following the attack on Jews in a Synagogue, recently.
The US Justice Department said that the gunman who killed 11 people at the synagogue in Pittsburgh last Saturday will face federal charges that carry death penalty.
Commenting on the incident US President, Donald Trump, said “something has to be done”.
Also, Attorney General Jeff sessions said:  “Hatred and violence on the basis of religion can have no place in our society.”  “These alleged crimes are reprehensible and utterly repugnant to the values of this nation. Accordingly, the Department of Justice will file hate crimes and other criminal charges against the defendant, including charges that could lead to the death penalty.”
President Donald Trump said it was “definitely” an anti-Semitic crime.
“A lot of people killed,” Trump told reporters on arrival in Indianapolis for an afternoon political rally. There were also “a lot of people badly wounded,” he said.
“It looks definitely like it’s an anti-Semitic crime.”
Earlier during the flight to Indianapolis, Trump said he was “considering” cancelling a rally for the November 6 midterm elections, scheduled for later Saturday in Illinois.
Trump ordered that American flags be flown at half-staff following the shooting. All flags at the White House, public grounds, military posts, naval stations and ships will be flown at half-staff through October 31 as a mark of “solemn respect” for the victims, Trump ordered.
“It’s a terrible, terrible thing what’s going on with hate in our country frankly, and all over the world,” Trump told reporters as he left for a series of campaign events in Indiana and Illinois.
“Something has to be done,” said the president. “When people do this, they should get the death penalty.”
As local media reported the death toll in Pennsylvania could be as high as eight people, Trump said the shooting appeared “far more devastating than anybody originally thought.”
“The world is a violent world,” he said, calling the suspect “a madman, a whacko.”
Asked whether it was time to revisit the country’s lenient gun laws, the president suggested instead that the toll might have been far lower had armed guards been posted in the synagogue, which they reportedly do only on the religion’s High Holy Days.
“If they had protection inside the temple, maybe it could have been a very much different situation,” he said. “They didn’t.”
But Trump did call for stiffer penalties and speedier justice.
“I think they should very much bring the death penalty into vogue,” he said. “Anybody who does a thing like this to innocent people in temple, in church… they should really suffer the ultimate price.”
Over the past 10 years in the US, there have been mass shootings at a Texas church (26 people died), at a mainly African American church in South Carolina (nine dead), at two Jewish centers in Kansas City, Kansas (three dead), at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin (six dead, plus the shooter), and at a Unitarian church in Tennessee (two dead).
Asked if all churches and synagogues should have armed guards, Trump replied, “I hate to think of it that way.”
He then added: “Certainly you want protection. They didn’t have any protection. … Results could have been much better.”
Faith leaders condemned the mass shooting with Christians and Muslims lining up to express solidarity with the victims.
The gunman yelling, ‘All Jews must die,’ stormed the Tree of Life synagogue during Saturday services, killing 11 worshippers and wounding six other people including four police officers, before he was arrested.
Robert Bowers, 46, of Pittsburgh, was taken into custody after a shootout with a SWAT team. Federal prosecutors charged him with 29 criminal counts including violence and firearms offences, and violating US civil rights laws.
Dr Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church, said: ‘Please join me in praying for the victims and the families of all affected by today’s terrible shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, including the three police officers who were injured trying to stop this attack. This was an act of pure and outright hatred, and it should be condemned by all of us. Anti-Semitism should have no place in America.’
Rabbi Tuly Weisz, director of Israel365 and editor of The Israel Bible, said: ‘There is a long, bloody history of Jews being murdered in our houses of worship. What is new is that this is happening in America in 2018. It is jarring, horrible and should be a wake-up call that terror needs to be obliterated everywhere.
‘People all over the world must stand together against religiously motivated terrorism.
‘As an Orthodox rabbi who has dedicated his life to building bridges between Jews and our Christian friends, I call on lovers of Israel everywhere to stand in unity and pray for these families whose loved ones were killed, and to fulfill the words of the Prophet Isaiah, “Comfort, oh comfort My people, says your God.”‘
A social media post by Bowers on Saturday morning said a Jewish refugee organisation, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, ‘likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.’The comment was posted on Gab, a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based social networking service created as an alternative to Twitter. In a statement, Gab.com confirmed the profile belonged to Bowers and also said it had suspended the account and contacted the FBI about it.
The mass shooting prompted security alerts at houses of worship around the country. It follows a spate of pipe bombs found mailed in recent days to prominent political figures, mostly Democrats including former President Barack Obama.
In the city on Saturday night, mourners held a candlelit vigil for the victims under light rain. The Islamic Center Of Pittsburgh offered its deepest sympathy and condolences, and called on its community to donate blood.

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