'Lone wolf' charged in attack outside Los Angeles synagogue
A Somali-born man was charged with a hate crime for allegedly trying to run over two men leaving a Los Angeles synagogue and spewing anti-Semitic insults, reports said on Tuesday.
Mohamed Abdi Mohamed, 32, who was arrested shortly after the incident on November 23, faces two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon - his vehicle - as well as a hate crime allegation.
Authorities said the two victims - who were not harmed - had just left a synagogue in Hancock Park and were walking on a sidewalk when Mohamed tried to run them over while yelling anti-Semitic remarks.
"He's yelling out hateful remarks regarding Jewish heritage and regarding these people of faith," Los Angeles police chief Michel Moore told reporters. "They watch him as he then turns his vehicle directly at them."
Mohamed was arrested by police shortly after he crashed his vehicle into another car.
Prosecutors said Mohamed, a US citizen, lived in the western state of Washington and had been in the Los Angeles area for a short time. It is believed he acted alone and was not connected to a group.
He faces nearly nine years in prison if convicted of the charges.
The attack comes amid increased concerns about anti-Semitic violence across the United States.
In October, a synagogue south of Los Angeles was defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti, in an attack that took place just days after 11 people were gunned down at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
The mostly elderly victims were shot in a bloody assault on the Tree of Life synagogue by a shooter who said he "wanted all Jews to die”.
In response, a crowdfunding campaign by two Muslim American groups raised more than $230,000 for the surviving victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and the relatives of the victims.
It was organised by CelebrateMercy and MPower Change, Muslim-American non-profits, both of which were widely celebrated across the globe for their show of goodwill.
"We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action," the groups said in a statement.
Fundraising proceeds will go toward meeting the short-term needs of the injured victims and grieving families, including funeral expenses and medical bills.
"Through this campaign, we hope to send a united message from the Jewish and Muslim communities that there is no place for this type of hate and violence in America," the groups said.
"We pray that this restores a sense of security and peace to the Jewish-American community who has undoubtedly been shaken by this event."
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