Muslim Man Interested in Judaism Behaved “Belligerently” in Miami Shul, Does Not Pose a Terror Threat

By Matis Glenn

Netive Ezra synagogue(Google)

A Muslim man known to frequent shuls in the Hollywood area of Florida was apprehended in a Miami shul and hospitalized Wednesday, according to Police Chaplain Rabbi Mark Rosenberg.

Due to the rarity of a Muslim man visiting shuls, “Homeland security and other branches of law enforcement were familiar with the individual,” Rabbi Rosenberg told Hamodia “but were told by a community rabbi that he was not a threat.”

During his months of visiting shuls, it was not reported that he exhibited any suspicious behavior.

Unfounded rumors spread on social media that the man, Hisham Abdallah Khasawinah, from Virginia, had targeted a shul for a terror attack, but shul representatives were quick to dispel the confusion.

After attending shiurim and tefilos for several months in a particular shul in which he was welcomed, sources tell Hamodia that Khasawinah was told that unless he begins a proper conversion process in a local Beis Din, he would no longer be permitted to attend services, but would be allowed to come for classes given to prospective gerim.  He reportedly agreed and said that he had made repeated attempts to contact the Miami Beis Din via email, which were not answered.

Rabbi Yekusiel Stern, Administrator of the Miami Beis Din, told Hamodia that he was not familiar with the Khasawinah.

Tuesday, In a Hollywood shul, Rabbi Rosenberg says that Khasawinah made a frightening statement that “seven people will die tomorrow,” and this was reported to police, who together with FBI and Homeland Security began looking for him.

On Wednesday, Khasawinah came to a Miami shul, Netive Ezra. Congregants called police when he acted “belligerent, not mentally well” according to Rabbi Rosenberg. He did not make any threats or act violently, however, and neither Rabbi Rosenberg nor the representatives of shuls – including a former IDF soldier – which spoke with Hamodia believe that he had terroristic intentions.

Agents from the aforementioned law enforcement agencies came to the Miami shul and apprehended Khasawinah, who was involuntarily hospitalized by police, under Florida’s Baker Act, which permits law enforcement to hospitalize people who are mentally ill and deemed a danger to themselves or others.

 He was not charged with any crimes.

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