Faith leaders meet with Rep. Tom Malinowski and federal officials.
Faith leaders meet with Rep. Tom Malinowski and federal officials.

The group met with officials from the Homeland Security Department to discuss preparedness and prevention.

Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski hosted a security briefing for local religious leaders this month as part of an effort to address concerns over anti-Semitic incidents.

Malinowski, who represents New Jersey’s 7th district, brought in agents from the Department of Homeland Security to brief attendees on available grant funding and workshops covering facility preparedness. They also gave an overview of services from state and federal law enforcement agencies to handle potential security threats.

According to Malinowski’s office, New Jersey had the third highest number of anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S., and in recent years leaders at local religious institutions have increasingly requested more security from law enforcement. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reports that the most common types of bias motivated crime include vandalism, intimidation and assault. 

“Violence motivated by hate is on the rise in America, and New Jersey has seen more than our share. I will keep doing everything in my power to ensure the federal government has the right strategy and enough resources to help us fight back,” Malinowski said in a statement.

More than 80 faith leaders from Islamic, Jewish, Sikh, Lutheran and many more religious backgrounds attended the security briefing. 

“It is very reassuring to know that our congressional representative is being proactive in bringing together resources to secure our faith Community and facilities,” Rabbi Arnie Gluck of Temple Beth-El said in a statement.

Domestic extremism has been a focus for Malinowski since he was elected to the House, according to his office. The congressman successfully restored funding a Department of Homeland Security grants program that aims to prevent terrorism. The grant program was cut by the Trump Administration in 2017.