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Md. delegation seeks investigation into threats at Jewish centers

Federal lawmakers want FBI investigation into threats at Jewish schools, community centers.

Maryland's congressional delegation called Wednesday for a federal investigation into a recent wave of threats made to Jewish institutions in the state and across the nation, writing that religious-based threats "fan the flames of extremism that tears apart societies."

In a letter to Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein and Gordon B. Johnson, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Baltimore field office, the bipartisan group of lawmakers asked the Justice Department to use its "full resources" to "investigate and prosecute hate crimes and violence."

The Jewish Community Center in Owings Mills and a Jewish day school in Annapolis received bomb threats Monday amid a rash of incidents reported at JCCs and schools across the country.

"In Maryland, bomb threats have disrupted classroom activities as well as events at Jewish community centers, coupled with the rise of neo-Nazi propaganda," the lawmakers wrote. "These hate-filled threats are intended to strike fear across the country and represent a troubling trend that we must bring to an end."

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office said in a statement that Rosenstein has discussed the issue with the FBI and other federal agencies. "We will continue to work with state and local authorities to provide investigative assistance, and pursue federal prosecution if appropriate," she said.  

President Donald Trump has faced criticism for not condoning the threats more forcefully. He began his first address to Congress on Tuesday by discussing the issue.

"Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries...remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms," he said.

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