The arrest of three Brooklyn men on terrorism charges last month spurred Marine Park residents to hold a terrorism awareness forum to reassure locals about potential threats during the upcoming Jewish and Christian holidays.
Dozens of residents attended the terrorism awareness forum at the Carmine Carro Community Center on March 19, where an agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation said the recent terrorism threats across the globe shouldn’t force residents to live their lives in fear — but he did say that citizens need to be aware of the jihadists’ threats.
“It really is a very dangerous world,” said Thomas Nicpon, who works with the bureau’s Joint Terrorist Task Force and Cyber Crimes Unit. “I wouldn’t say that everyone here should be worried or concerned — however, everybody here needs to be aware, needs to be cognitive of what is out there and what these people are trying to do.”
In February, authorities arrested Abdurasul Juraboev, Akhror Saidakhmetov, and Abror Habibov and charged them with material support for terrorism. The trio reportedly planned to join the Islamic State militants in Syria. Before joining the jihadists, Juraboev reportedly planned to plant a bomb in Coney Island and stated he would kill President Obama.
The organizer of the event said that the arrests have residents worried about terrorism threats.
“There is always concern about terrorism, and we’ve become more aware of these things lately,” said Ed Jaworski, president of the Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association.
Nicpon said the Internet has certainly increased terrorism threats because worldwide communication has made it easier for terrorists to coordinate — and the virtual world has made surveillance more complicated for law enforcement.
“It has become more difficult is because the Internet — cyber world, if you will — has made communications between and among the groups so much easier,” he said. “It could be somebody sitting in a basement in England communicating with folks in Pakistan or Nigeria and they’re basically working together, coordinating the attacks and that can be very difficult for the FBI and law enforcement worldwide.”
An elected official who hosted a counter-terrorism forum last month with law enforcement officials after the local terrorism threat said it is important for residents to speak out about any potential threats.
“Everyone needs to know what to look out for,” said Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay). “We all have an obligation that if you see something, say something.”
Nicpon said if residents speak up when they see something amiss in their neighborhood, they could help protect the neighborhood — and the city — from terrorism threats.
“Everybody knows their neighborhoods. If you know something is out of place, report it,” said Nicpon. “It might be nothing, but if you don’t say anything and — God forbid — it was the planning of the next 9-11 or something equally as bad, and we could have prevented it, that would be a shame.”
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