SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – News 3 spoke with leaders in both the Jewish and Islamic communities who say they are saddened by what’s happened and are taking the safety of their communities seriously as of late.
A police patrol was stepped up at Savannah’s Jewish Educational Alliance (JEA) Friday as a former Hamas leader recently called for Friday to be a global day of “anger” in support of the recent Hamas attack on Israel.
After that message circulated on social media Thursday, Adam Solender, CEO of the JEA and Savannah Jewish Federation, tells News 3 he and his security team were not taking any chances.
“We have hundreds of children here, we have seniors, we have all different people, and they just want to feel sure, and thankfully, the Savannah Police Department has been extraordinarily responsive,” says Solender.
Kuhzaima Ilyas, Imam of the Islamic Center of Savannah, says he is hurt and saddened by what has transpired in the Middle East.
“If anyone who has any sort of humanity in them by seeing what has transpired should be hurt and sad by what is happening. We hope that it stops as soon as possible,” says Ilyas.
He also says Islam does not condone violence toward innocent people.
“No one in an all-out war is supposed to harm a child or an innocent person, an old person, a woman, that’s an all-out war law in our religion that you’re not supposed to do that,” says Ilyas.
When asked if he and his congregation feel safe, he says, “Our relationship is with God. That’s our source of protection and safety, and who we rely upon. We have not seen any threats so far.”
Although Solender tells News 3 the JEA has also not received any direct threats, he wanted to make sure everyone there not only was safe but felt safe Friday.
He shares this message:
“Jewish friends, non-Jewish friends, it doesn’t make a difference. The fact is that we live in different times and you need to live your life. When you don’t live your life terrorism wins.”
Solender tells us the increased police patrol is effective only on Friday but will be episodic when needed.
Ilyas says there will be a pro-Palestine rallying happening Sunday in Forsyth Park at 2 p.m.