Metro Muslim, Jewish leaders respond to Atlanta Police Department’s public safety alert

ATLANTA — The ongoing conflict between Iran and Israel could lead to more police officers patrolling religious buildings in Atlanta this week.

Atlanta Police Department issued a public safety alert in case anyone tries to retaliate here.

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APD said there are no confirmed threats at this time, and it released the notice in an abundance of caution on its Facebook page Saturday night.

Channel 2′s Courtney Francisco spoke to leaders in the Muslim and Jewish communities on WSB Tonight at 11 p.m. on Sunday to find out how people are reacting to the APD safety notice.

“It’s a deterrent,” said Rabbi Larry Sernovitz. “Letting people know that if you are going to attack innocent civilians who live in our area, please know that we’re paying attention.”

“Generally, if I can be honest, sometimes increased police activity makes the Muslim community nervous because it leads to increased surveillance. So, we hope it’s not that, and it’s in good faith for security,” Executive Director of The Council on American Islamic Relations Azka Mahmood said.

Both communities said police and security are routine around synagogues, mosques, and educational and cultural buildings, especially around holy times and group outings.

“We’re just coming out of Ramadan when mosques already have elevated security preparations,” said Mahmood.

She said some adjusted the routine in Atlanta when demonstrations unfolded in the Fall in response to the war. Now, this new alert could change protocol again.

“Lately, we’re always on heightened alert, and this was just an additional piece,” said Rabbi Sernovitz.


“Some mosques in the Atlanta city area have been in communication with the APD and are possibly beefing up some security,” said Mahmood.

Mahmood said the latest alert did not deter people in the Islamic faith here from gathering over the weekend.

“Everything worked as normal. People attended prayers and congregations,” said Mahmood.

Rabbi Sernovitz said he’s sure it caused some to stay home.

“Does it deter people from going? I’m sure it does, but I think for the mast majority of the Jewish community, we know that we got to show up because that means that we can survive whatever it is,” said Sernovitz.

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