Last week’s top news, from our perspective:
Alleged Kansas Jewish center gunman charged with murder • Demands That Jews Register in Eastern Ukraine Are Denounced, and Denied • Crosses Spark a Constitutional Fight • NYPD Shuts Down Controversial Unit That Spied On Muslims • Muslims in New York City Unite on Push to Add Holidays to School Calendar
The man accused of killing three people at two Jewish-affiliated facilities in Kansas made no secret of his racist views, writing letters to newspapers and inviting people to white-supremacist meetings at his home, say those who knew him.
Cross is accused of shooting to death a boy and his grandfather outside a Jewish community center near Kansas City, Kansas, on Sunday and then a woman at a nearby Jewish assisted living facility.
Worshipers at the Bet Menakhem-Mendl synagogue in this eastern Ukrainian city confronted a horrifying scene as they left a Passover service this week: masked men on a sidewalk handing out leaflets demanding that Jews register and pay a fine or leave the area, witnesses said.
That the leaflets appeared in a highly uncertain political context did little to calm nerves or to dampen high-level international condemnation, including from Secretary of State John Kerry, who said Thursday in Geneva that “just in the last couple of days, notices were sent to Jews in one city indicating that they had to identify themselves as Jews.”
The leaflets were supposedly signed by Denis Pushilin, the leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic, the newly declared and unrecognized state that claims to represent ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine. But that group and other pro-Russian groups quickly denied they had anything to do with them.
The Mount Soledad statue is one of at least four war-memorial crosses under legal fire by civil-liberty groups who want them off government land. The cross is a globally recognized symbol of Christian faith. But many veterans and others who have lost loved ones to battles or tragedy value the memorial crosses as monuments of remembrance, invested with historical weight.
The New York Police Department said Tuesday it would disband a special unit charged with detecting possible terrorist threats by carrying out secret surveillance of Muslim groups.
The squad that conducted the surveillance, known as the Demographics Unit, was formed in 2003. It brought the NYPD under fire from community groups and activists who accused the force of abusing civil rights and profiling.
It was a gathering remarkable in its diversity from among New York City’s Muslims, a growing group whose members often find it difficult to work together politically because of differences in national origin, language, sect and class. But a single issue has managed to unify them: the push to close the city’s public schools for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, the most sacred Muslim holidays.