Shock as university's Jewish centre set alight in 'arson' attack

A criminal investigation is underway into the blaze at the Chabad centre on the University of Delaware campus on Tuesday night


A Chabad centre on the campus of the University of Delaware has been set alight in what investigators are now treating as arson.

The Chabad Centre for Jewish Life in Newark was damaged by fire after 11pm on Tuesday. Firefighters were able to quell the flames and the building was unoccupied.

The fire is said to have caused an estimated $75,000 (£56,500) in damage. A criminal investigation is underway.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden tweeted that he had found the news “deeply disturbing – as an alum of [University of Delaware] and as an American.

“With antisemitism on the rise across the country, we all have a moral obligation to speak out and give hate no safe harbour.”

Newark Mayor Jerry Clifton wrote that he had found the news “heartbreaking.

“This is a sickening act of hostility that threatens the safety and security of our inclusive, welcoming neighbourhoods,” he said. “My thoughts are with the Jewish community and those affected by this tragedy.”

In a joint statement, University of Delaware president Dennis Assanis and vice president for student life José-Luis Riera said they had made available a student counselling service for anyone affected by the “upsetting” event.

“While not a University of Delaware-owned facility, the Chabad Center serves as a Jewish community centre for our campus and sponsors a Registered Student Organization. It is an active part of UD’s religious, faith and spiritual diversity. We affirm our solidarity with the Jewish community at this difficult time.”

They added: “Community at UD is first and foremost characterized by the people and values that define our culture, and also the spaces where we come together to share, learn and grow.”

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