Conflict in Middle East causes concern for Montgomery groups

TROY, Ala. (TROJANVISION) — It’s been nearly a month since the October 7th attacks were carried out by Hamas on Israel and some Alabamians are feeling the war’s effects.

Thousands of Israelis and Palestinians have been killed due to the escalation of the long-standing conflict. Despite the war zone being thousands of miles away from the United States, some Alabamians have already seen the consequences of war.

“We’ve increased security,” said Rabbi Scott Looper of Temple Beth Or in Montgomery. “There were there were threats. We had a bomb threat about three four weeks ago. There were a number of congregations in Alabama who also received that threat.”

“We’ve recommended that all of the mosques in Montgomery actually have police at all prayers and services at this point,” said East Montgomery Islamic Society representative Aya Zaied. “We are in discussions, especially after the more recent in incidents in Texas, of actually canceling a lot of the extracurriculars that we do right now.”

One tension point includes the thousands of years of historical context and treatment of both the Jewish and Islamic people.

“When Hamas went in and and murdered 400 Israelis and kidnapped over 200 people, Jews can’t help but have trauma reanimated for them,” Looper explained.

Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are not new issues. What is new is the rapid spread of information through social media.

“There’s also so much false information out there and the narrative is it’s automatically a terrorist, they’re bad, they’re evil, they’re animals, they’re savage,” Zaied said.

Although the conflict is thousands of miles away from Alabama, some people who live in the state have been directly impacted.

“We have several community members that have lost up to 33 members of their family,” Zaied told TrojanVision. “We have others that have lost 19. A lot of them do not have any form of communication right now with with their families.”

Although there is plenty of anti-Semitism in the United States, Rabbi Looper wants to make sure that hateful messages they receive are not a catalyst for islamophobia.

“Believe me, when people go crazy on on the on the side of Jews and saying we should just wipe out the population, we should just get rid of them, like that is not an acceptable response either.”

TrojanVision plans to have more coverage and insight from Looper and Zaied in upcoming broadcasts.