PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Communities across the United States are on high alert after a former Hamas chief encouraged people to “head to the squares and streets of the Arab and Islamic world on Friday” in support of Palestinians, encouraging “all who teach and learn” jihad to apply the ideology’s theories. (“Jihad,” which is Arabic for “struggle” or “effort,” is a term used by militant Muslim groups like Hamas to call for aggressive armed strikes against non-Muslims.)
In Rhode Island, officials say state police are ready to support local law enforcement across the state, adding that they have been in contact with community groups impacted by the violence in Israel and Gaza.
“I have observed an increased uniformed presence, as well as increased firepower, which is visibly displayed at two airports as I travel today,” said 12 News law enforcement analyst and former State Police Col. Steven O’Donnell.
“Make no mistake, there will be zero tolerance for any violence or threats of violence here in Rhode Island, period,” Governor Dan McKee said before a press conference addressing homelessness in the state.
“The most important thing right now, the message is, let’s prevent any acts of antisemitism in any capacity,” McKee added.
O’Donnell encouraged all Rhode Islanders to do their part to protect their neighbors: “Our citizens have to be vigilant to not allow antisemitism in any form and also guard against Islamophobia.”