NEW YORK (PIX11) — A day of worldwide protest is what the former leader of Hamas, the group that attacked Israel last weekend, has called for on Friday. In New York City, the NYPD leader in charge of intelligence and counterterrorism said that the department will be out in full force in response, and in full readiness.
As a result, said Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism Rebecca Weiner, New Yorkers “should go about their daily business as they would any other day, and they’ll see a lot of police officers around.”
Weiner said that already the police presence is stepped up, only to increase on Friday.
Outside of the Central Synagogue, in Midtown, PIX11 News observed a counterterrorism patrol, as well as security guards from the landmarked Jewish house of worship, on Thursday afternoon. Such scenes, said Weiner, are part of the department’s plan for Friday.
Weiner said that at houses of worship for the Jewish faith, as well as the Muslim faith, for which Friday is also a holy day, there will be a police presence that’s visible, as well as a presence that’s not obvious.
“That involves online monitoring,” Weiner said, “making sure that we’re attuned to any resonance from calls that may be issued overseas, and understanding threats before they can develop into violence in this city.”
Weiner said that there was no credible threat detected at this time, but that the department is on the lookout for them. She also said that non-uniformed officers will be present, as well.
As for city residents, she said that they should not change their normal routines, and that they should be on the lookout every day, including on Friday.
“Stay vigilant, and stay calm,” Weiner advised. “That is the message.”
Weiner shared her message in an exclusive interview in the NYPD’s Joint Operations Center. It’s a state-of-the-art electronics and personnel monitoring center at police headquarters.
Weiner’s message was in response to one made on Wednesday by Khaled Mashaal, the former leader of Hamas. He said in a recorded message to the Reuters news agency that on Friday, Muslims around the world should “deliver a message through the squares and the streets, a message of anger, that we are with Palestine.”
Mashaal went on to say, in part: “To all scholars who teach jihad for the sake of God and who preach the fighters and martyrs, to all who teach and learn, this is a moment of application [of theories], so that words are not just words.”
The fact that he mentioned jihad has specifically left some people concerned about violence.
Sheikh Saad Jalloh, the imam of the Islamic Cultural Center of New York, explained the word, in an interview.
The word “jihad” means struggle, or struggling,” he said.
That struggle has a variety of meanings and levels, he explained, and can sometimes refer to struggling against opposition to Islam. However, he pointed out, “Islam means ‘peace.'”
The primary struggle of jihad, said the Muslim religious leader, is the struggle within.
It involves personal choice, he said, that pervades all of a person’s conduct.
“Always think for the best,” he said, “and choose the best one, and do not just follow your whims, your anger, your ego.”