We are not afraid: Durham Jewish school threatened

Thursday, February 23, 2017
Durham police investigate threat at Jewish school
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The Lerner Jewish Community Day School received a bomb threat on Wednesday

DURHAM, North Carolina -- The Durham Police Department is investigating a threat at the Lerner Jewish Community Day School on West Cornwallis Road.

Video from the scene showed officers using a bomb-sniffing dog while people stood outside the building.

The Lerner Jewish Community Day School released a statement Wednesday afternoon. The statement read, in part:

Despite today's call, we are not afraid. We are fortunate to be part of a wonderful community here in the Research Triangle - a community where people of all faiths and backgrounds work together to care for each other. Today's threat is a threat not only against Jews, but against the community we love, where we do not tolerate hatred and bigotry against any group.


The threat comes after eleven Jewish community centers across the country received telephoned bomb threats earlier this week, according to the JCC Association of North America.

Like three waves of similar phone calls in January, the new threats proved to be hoaxes, the association said in a statement. In addition, as many as 200 headstones were damaged or tipped over at a Jewish cemetery in suburban St. Louis late Sunday or early Monday.

MORE: Jewish centers again receive phone threats across nation

The Islamic Association of Raleigh issued a statement condemning Wednesday's bomb threat:

"It is with great sadness that we hear of a second bomb threat called into the Sandra E Lerner Jewish Community Day School in Durham today. Threatening innocent school children is something we cannot stand for. Any threats made against this school is a threat against all schools.

The Islamic Association of Raleigh strongly condemns such acts and we offer our support and prayers to the Triangle Jewish community and the parents, students and teachers of the Lerner School. We will be reaching out to the school to offer our support to the school during its time of need. We hope and pray the individuals responsible for such a heinous act are tracked swiftly and brought to justice."

President Donald Trump on Tuesday condemned the threats against Jewish community centers in the U.S. as "painful reminders" of lingering prejudice and evil.

"The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil," Trump said. He did not outline what that might entail.

On Monday, Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump wrote on Twitter, "We must protect our houses of worship & religious centers," and used the hashtag #JCC. She converted to Judaism ahead of her 2009 marriage to Jared Kushner. She joined her father at the African-American museum tour.

The FBI said it was joining with the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division to investigate "possible civil rights violations in connection with threats."

Ryan Lenz, spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said it has seen an uptick in incidents since Trump's election. "People are much more willing to express their bigoted selves than they were prior to the election," Lenz said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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