Secure Community Network: Anti-Semitic Murder in Arizona Could Have Been Prevented

JTA — An American Jewish community security consultant has accused the University of Arizona of ignoring anti-Semitism as a warning sign in a case that resulted in the shooting of a professor.

“Professor Thomas Meixner lost his life because anti-Semitism is not taken seriously enough,” Michael Masters, CEO of Secure Community Network, wrote in an op-ed published Tuesday in theArizona Republic.

Masters said the alleged assailant’s explicit anti-Semitic threats should have been a wake-up call for campus police, who Masters said have not brought criminal charges, and the county prosecutor’s office. Pima, which did not prosecute. In a text addressed to a teacher, the aggressor wished “the death of all the Jews”.

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“Too often, reported violent anti-Semitic threats like these are dismissed as a byproduct of mental retardation and not handled with due care,” Masters writes. “More could and should have been done to prevent a senseless murder. »

The Masters group coordinates the security of Jewish organizations across the country.

Last week, he alerted New York City authorities to an online post from someone who said he wanted to “shoot a synagogue”; police apprehended the man alleged to have made the message, who had a gun, ammunition and a Nazi armband.

In the past, people who have taken Security Community Network training have credited it with mitigating attacks, including in the hostage-taking at a Texas synagogue last January.

Murad Dervish, the suspect in the Oct. 5 shootings on the University of Arizona campus in Tucson, believed Meixner was Jewish and took a dislike to him because he was a Muslim, colleagues say by Meixner.

Murad Dervish. Undated photo provided October 7, 2022 by the Pima County Sheriff’s Office.

Dervish, a graduate student in the Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, received a poor grade and was fired last semester as a professor’s assistant, although he was allowed to stay in school as a than a student.

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Meixner, the head of the department, was a Roman Catholic, but, according to Eyad Atallah, another teacher whom Dervish threatened, Dervish refused to believe him.

“You are a dirty Yid lover who was deceived by them, but I really can’t blame you, they are very deceitful,” Dervish said in a text to Atallah, who had once befriended him. with him.

In a message to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Masters said Meixner’s murder showed how anti-Semitic violence causes collateral damage.

“We must take threats seriously – whatever their motivation – and strive to respond to them in a comprehensive and coordinated manner,” he said. “If that had been the case, it is questionable whether the victim, in this case, would still be alive and if we will learn the lesson to keep the next potential victims safe and alive. »

The university expelled Dervish and barred him from campus, but did not put in place mechanisms to prevent him from entering the building.

The county attorney’s office said Dervish’s texts did not rise to the level of an admissible threat. His threats did not “meet the evidentiary requirements to charge him with the crime of threats and intimidation,” the office said in a statement.

Atallah said to theArizona Daily Star that he believed that Dervish had carefully worded his texts so that he could plausibly claim that he was not directly threatening the person to whom they were addressed. In one of the messages to Atallah, Dervish said, “I hope someone blows your f**king brains out.”

Atallah, who acquired a bulletproof vest and reduced his time on campus after the threats, believes Dervish would have killed him too if they had met on the day of the shooting.

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It is unclear how Dervish, who had been charged and sentenced to prison in other states for acts of violence, was able to purchase a gun. He pleaded not guilty.

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