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Man Charged With Hate Crimes in Stabbing of Rabbi in Boston

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A man who stabbed a rabbi outside a Jewish school in Boston this month was charged on Thursday with hate crimes after investigators discovered that he had expressed anti-Semitic views, prosecutors said.

The rabbi, Shlomo Noginski, was wearing a skullcap and standing in front of a large menorah on the steps of the school, Shaloh House, when he was attacked on July 1 by the man, Khaled Awad, 24, prosecutors said.

After brandishing a gun, Mr. Awad demanded the keys to a school van, which Rabbi Noginski offered him, prosecutors said. Mr. Awad then displayed a knife and indicated that he wanted the rabbi to get into the van, prosecutors said.

Rabbi Noginski, 41, ran, but Mr. Awad chased him down and stabbed him nine times, prosecutors said. The rabbi survived, and told i24News after he was released from the hospital that he had been stabbed in his arm and limbs, “but it could have been much worse.”

“I feel relatively great, and I thank God for the miracle,” he told i24News in Hebrew.

Mr. Awad, who was arrested shortly after the attack, was charged on July 2 with seven counts, including assault with intent to murder and attempted armed robbery, prosecutors said.

On Thursday, prosecutors added two additional charges, both of which are considered hate crimes, they said: committing a civil rights violation causing injury and armed assault and battery with intent to intimidate, causing bodily injury.

The additional charges were brought after people who knew Mr. Awad or had lived with him told investigators that he had said that “all Jews are stingy and evil” and “they are evil and control the world,” Margaret Hegarty, a Suffolk County prosecutor, told reporters on Thursday.

Mr. Awad had also made derogatory comments about Christians, but “was especially harsh on Jews, as part of who he was,” Ms. Hegarty said.

The day before the attack, Mr. Awad, who lives in the neighborhood where Shaloh House is, was seen near the school, acting in a way that was “odd or off-putting,” which prompted someone to take a photograph of him, Rachael Rollins, the Suffolk County district attorney, told reporters.

“We are standing here today because we want the Jewish community to know that we believe this was rooted in anti-Semitism,” Ms. Rollins said. “We are going to call that out and charge that specifically, and we want them to know they are safe.”

Mr. Awad, an Egyptian who was in the United States on a student visa, has pleaded not guilty to all charges, according to his lawyer, Stephen J. Weymouth, who said the new hate crime charges were “based on some very weak evidence.”

“There’s no evidence that any comments were made during the course of the attempted robbery,” Mr. Weymouth said in an interview. “There wasn’t any yelling or screaming, as you would expect, ‘I hate Jews.’”

Mr. Weymouth said he had asked the court to have a doctor examine Mr. Awad and the doctor had recommended that Mr. Awad be sent to Bridgewater State Hospital. Mr. Awad will be held there for the next 20 to 30 days to determine whether he is competent to stand trial and whether he has mental health issues that could have affected his ability to determine right from wrong on the day of the attack, Mr. Weymouth said.

Mr. Weymouth said that some mental health issues, which he was unable to immediately describe, “may very well be the explanation here.”

The stabbing came after an outbreak of anti-Semitic threats and violence across the United States this year stoked fear among Jews in small towns and major cities.

During two weeks of clashes in Israel and Gaza in May, the Anti-Defamation League collected 222 reports of anti-Semitic harassment, vandalism and violence in the United States, compared with 127 over the previous two weeks.

In one case, Jewish diners outside a sushi restaurant in Los Angeles were attacked by men shouting anti-Semitic threats. In another case, a brick shattered a window of a kosher pizzeria on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. And in Salt Lake City, a man scratched a swastika into the front door of an Orthodox synagogue.

After Rabbi Noginski was stabbed, city officials and Jewish community leaders in Boston condemned the attack and urged the police to investigate it as a hate crime.

On Thursday, Robert Trestan, the director of the Anti-​Defamation League’s New England office, said in a statement that he welcomed the filing of hate crimes and civil rights charges in the attack.

“The charges are a stark reminder that anti-Semitism continues to fuel violence against the Jewish community,” Mr. Trestan said. “The charges represent the first step towards accountability and justice for the community.”


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