PHOENIX, AZ (3TV/CBS5) — Leaders in Arizona’s Islamic community are urging mosques to tighten up security procedures after the deadly shootings in New Zealand and an arrest a Phoenix mosque.
Noel Thomas Becht, 40, remained jailed Monday on charges of threatening and intimidating conduct after investigators say he started wandering through the United Islamic Center of Arizona and made a sawing motion across his neck with his finger during a conversation with a mosque leader.
“We thank the Phoenix Police Department for its quick response to this incident,” said CAIR-Arizona Executive Director Imraan Siddiqi in a statement Monday.
The incident happened Saturday, one day after the attacks in New Zealand.
“As the global Muslim community is reeling from the massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand — where 50 Muslims were killed in their house of worship by a white supremacist and Islamophobic extremist — we must continue to remain vigilant. It is important for each mosque in our community to be in an ongoing dialogue with law enforcement to build or enhance a comprehensive security plan.”
CAIR-Arizona sent out 16-page guide to mosques with suggestions on improving locks, fencing, security cameras, alarms and tips on building an overall security plan.
Araceli Villanueva of CAIR-Arizona said police noticeably stepped up patrols at Valley mosques last weekend after the attacks, and she hopes those additional sweeps will continue.
“We need to make sure that we have security at all times, especially right now,” she said.