Local, county and state officials have spoken out in recent days in response to the war that erupted on Oct. 7 when Palestinian militia Hamas attacked Israel. During the Homewood Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday, Oct. 10, Trustee Jay Heiferman, who is Jewish, read a statement condemning the attack.
Many of us in the community have friends and family in Israel. The attacks by Hamas on Israel are deeply condemnable and utterly unacceptable. These acts of violence which indiscriminately target civilian populations violate the basic principles of humanity and peace.
The deliberate targeting of innocent civilians is a heinous crime and cannot be justified under any circumstances. It’s imperative for our little community, as part of the international community, to unite and unequivocally denounce these attacks and work towards peace.
On Monday, Oct. 16, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle issued a statement about the war and about an alleged hate crime that occurred in Plainfield on Saturday, Oct. 14, when a 6-year-old Palestinian-American boy was stabbed to death and his mother seriously wounded allegedly by the family’s landlord.
The entire world has watched the events unfold in Israel this month. There is no justification for the horrific actions of terrorists, who have committed the deadliest attack on the Jewish people since the Holocaust. We pray for the safe return of those who were taken hostage by Hamas, including our Cook County residents.
I am also deeply concerned by the mass displacement and deprivation of basic necessities of innocent people in the region. The resulting war and the heartbreaking humanitarian crisis is worsening before our eyes. Our residents have deep connections to people in this area of the world and I send condolences on behalf of Cook County to everyone who has been impacted.
Finally, I unequivocally condemn the horrific hate-fueled murder of 6-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoumi yesterday and the attempted murder of his mother – acts of violence motivated by the war, right here in Illinois. We as a county strongly condemn any hate including toward our Muslim and Jewish residents.
Hate will never have a place in our county, state or nation. I join so many across the county and world in hoping for peace and yearning for a time when all people can live peacefully and safely.
On Saturday, Oct. 7, the day Hamas launched its attack on Israel, Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who is Jewish, issued a statement on X (formerly Twitter).
I condemn the horrifying attacks on Israel by Hamas and extend my support for those whose families and loved ones have been killed and injured in this terrorist attack today.
In Illinois and across America, the people of Israel are in our prayers.
On Friday, Oct. 13, Pritzker issued a news release about potential local threats associated with the Hamas-Israel war.
Pritzker, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security (IEMA-OHS), and the Illinois State Police (ISP) are closely monitoring the conflict in the Middle East and potential threats here in Illinois. The governor has been briefed by both agencies and the White House. The governor instructed both agencies to work closely with law enforcement partners and to be on heightened alert for any threats related to places of worship across the state to protect First Amendment rights and the safety of worshippers.
At this time, there is no actionable intelligence regarding any credible threats in Illinois. However, as always, if members of the public see something, they are encouraged to say something. The public should report suspicious behavior to local law enforcement by calling direct or to 911 depending on the level of the threat.
“As governor of Illinois, it is my top priority to keep our residents safe and we are closely monitoring any potential threats that may arise,” Pritzker said. “While there are currently no credible threats here in Illinois, my administration is operating with heightened vigilance and working closely with IEMA-OHS and the Illinois State Police to keep people safe. Here in Illinois, we reject those who use violence to instill terror and fear and are committed to ensuring our religious institutions and schools remain safe.”
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security has been working closely with partners to address any new emerging issues.
“The unilateral security efforts with all levels of government is critical as we remain vigilant,” said Homeland Security Advisor to the governor and IEMA-OHS Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “Global conflicts have cascading effects within our communities statewide so we remain vigilant here in Illinois.”
“The ISP Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center is aware of terroristic messaging being perpetuated online concerning HAMAS-aligned propaganda and the ‘day of rage,’ said ISP Director Brendan Kelly. “Law enforcement takes these threats very seriously and stand prepared to take appropriate action.”
Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security (IEMA-OHS) is at Ready.Illinois.Gov.
On Monday, Oct. 16, Pritzker issued the following statement following recent charges against a Plainfield man accused of murder, attempted murder and hate crimes:
To take a six-year-old child’s life in the name of bigotry is nothing short of evil. Wadea should be heading to school in the morning. Instead, his parents will wake up without their son. This wasn’t just a murder — it was a hate crime. And every single Illinoisan — including our Muslim, Jewish, and Palestinian neighbors — deserves to live free from the threat of such evil. Today, MK and I join our Muslim and Palestinian brothers and sisters in mourning this tragic loss and praying for the recovery of Wadea’s mother. May Wadea Al-Fayoume’s memory be a blessing.”
The Illinois State Police are coordinating statewide law enforcement communications and activity in response to the elevated level of threats of violence and hate crime related to the current conflict in the Middle East.
ISP has reached out to the Illinois Muslim community and continues to communicate with and support religious leaders across Illinois who are impacted by the current elevated threat environment. Intelligence sharing and communication with local and federal partners continue around the clock with all of ISP’s assets remaining at a heightened state of readiness appropriate for this evolving and volatile situation.
As was stated two days ago, all Illinoisans should remain vigilant against hate crime activity and potential terrorism. ISP reminds everyone that if you see something, say something.