New Haven mosque ar­son leads to call for se­cu­rity fund­ing

The News-Times - - FROM THE FRONT PAGE - By Chris­tine Stu­art

HART­FORD — A bi­par­ti­san group of law­mak­ers joined lead­ers from the Mus­lim, Jewish, and Catholic faiths Tues­day to seek ap­proval of $5 mil­lion in bond­ing to har­den and se­cure places of wor­ship.

The state Capi­tol press con­fer­ence, which in­cluded mem­bers of the House and Se­nate, was put to­gether less than 48 hours af­ter the Diyanet Mosque in New Haven was set on fire by what ap­pears to be an in­ten­tional act of ar­son.

“We don’t yet have all the facts and de­tails re­gard­ing the ar­son at­tack in New Haven, but no one should feel un­safe or un­wel­come in their place of wor­ship,” Sen. Saud An­war, D-South Wind­sor, said. “Churches, syn­a­gogues, mosques, and tem­ples are pil­lars of our com­mu­ni­ties where peo­ple gather, join­ing to­gether as one.”

An­war said the last thing on a per­son’s mind when they go to a place of wor­ship should be their safety.

Michael Bloom, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Jewish Fed­er­a­tion As­so­ci­a­tion of Con­necti­cut said houses of wor­ship need help to pay for hard­en­ing, such as doors, bul­let­proof win­dows, key­less en­tries, and cam­eras.

“They’re ex­pen­sive and un­for­tu­nately nec­es­sary in this day and age,” Bloom said.

Rabbi Tu­via Bran­der said the world has changed.

“I grieve for our chil­dren who while prac­tic­ing their own faith need to prac­tice now lock­down drills and evac­u­a­tion pro­ce­dures, while learn­ing about their own re­li­gious her­itages need to learn about ac­tive shoot­ers and evac­u­a­tion routes,” Bran­der said. “Our coun­try was built on the foun­da­tion of re­li­gious free­doms and at her core en­dowed by our cre­ator was the right to as­sem­ble peace­fully and safely. To­day we need to reaf­firm our com­mit­ment to those val­ues.”

Bran­der added: “I don’t want to gather for any more vig­ils, so we need to be more vig­i­lant.”

Se­nate Pres­i­dent Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said there is prece­dent for the leg­is­la­ture to man­date the ex­pen­di­ture of bond funds in a spe­cific fis­cal year.

He said once the fund­ing is approved then faith com­mu­ni­ties can ap­ply for the funds through a grant pro­cess.

Sen. Derek Slap, D-West Hart­ford, said they also had con­ver­sa­tions with the gov­er­nor’s of­fice about the need for the fund­ing.

The gov­er­nor’s of­fice con­trols the Bond Com­mis­sion agenda and the al­lo­ca­tion of the funds.

Lina Biroscak / TNS

New Haven of­fi­cials said a fire was in­ten­tion­ally set Sun­day at the Diyanet Mosque.

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