Suspect in stabbing attack at rabbi’s home charged with federal hate crimes

NEW YORK: Federal prosecutors on Monday (Dec 30) filed hate crime charges against a man accused of going on a stabbing rampage during a Hanukkah celebration at a rabbi's home north of New York City, saying the suspect kept journals containing references to Adolf Hitler and "Nazi Culture."

The United States Attorneys Office for the Southern District of New York filed the charges after the suspect, Grafton Thomas, was arraigned on Sunday on five counts of attempted murder in a state court in the town of Ramapo.

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Thomas is accused of stabbing five people on Saturday night with what the criminal complaint described as a "machete" after bursting into a Hanukkah celebration that included dozens of people at Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg's home in Rockland County, about 48 kilometres north of New York City.

Handwritten journals confiscated from the suspect's Greenwood Lake, New York, home contained anti-Semitic sentiments including "referring to 'Adolf Hitler' and 'Nazi culture'" as well as a drawing of a swastika, FBI agent Julie Brown said in the complaint. She said his cell phone was used to search "Why did Hitler hate the Jews" on Nov 9, Dec 3, Dec 7 and Dec 16.

Brown also said the phone showed searches for Jewish temples in Elizabeth, New Jersey and Staten Island, both on Dec 18, and for prominent American companies founded by Jews on Dec 27.

The following day, Dec 28, the phone was used to access an article headlined "New York City increased police presence in Jewish neighbourhoods after Possible Anti-Semitic Attacks. Here's what's to know."

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Authorities did not release the names of the victims. Four of the five victims of the attack were released after being treated at a local hospital while one was still hospitalised with a skull fracture, the New York Times quoted officials as saying.

'SCOURGE OF HATE'

The stabbings were the latest in a series of anti-Semitic attacks in the state and a mass shooting in New Jersey earlier this month. New York authorities denounced a "scourge of hate" plaguing the country.

"There is a scourge of hate in this country. It's ignorance is intolerance. BRead More – Source