The day after three men with ties to Southern Brooklyn were arrested for alleged support of Islamic State militants and a threat to bomb Coney Island, dozens of locals attended the first of two counter-terrorism public safety meetings at Midwood’s Madison High School on Feb. 26.
The Counter-Terrorism and Safety Awareness Symposium — held on the anniversary of the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center— featured speakers from the police and fire departments, the Office of Emergency Management, and the National Guard. The speakers shared safety tips with residents at the first of two planned public forums.
Recent terrorist attacks in Europe, and the arrest of Abdurasul Juraboev, Akhror Saidakhmetov, and Abror Habibov on charges of giving material support for terrorism, highlight the need for public awareness of possible threats, said the local councilman who organized the event weeks before the recent arrests.
“In today’s day and age, there is a great necessity in our community for heightened awareness of safety measures that must be addressed,” said Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay). “Regrettably, amid recent events here and around the world, it has become a stark reality that schools, houses of worships, community centers, and other places of assembly are considered targets.
One of the attendees added that the arrests of the three Brooklyn terror suspects have raised awareness locally about the possibility that terrorists could attack anywhere, whether a crowded city center or sleepy waterfront neighborhood.
“We can’t feel that we’re immune to it,” said Benjamin Schaeffer, a retired Police Auxiliary Sergeant.
Schaeffer said it is important for residents to follow the police department’s advice and report any potential threat they see because it could save people’s lives.
“Any citizen can be a hero just by reporting something,” he said.
The second Counter-Terrorism and Safety Awareness at Madison High School (3787 Bedford Ave. between Avenue P and Quentin Road in Midwood). March 3rd at 6 pm.