U.S. Report

DETROIT (JTA) — The Anti-Defamation League criticized a Democratic candidate who said his opponent should not represent a redrawn Detroit-area congressional district because he is liberal and Jewish.

Michigan state Rep. William Callahan said redistricting has made the district more conservative and mostly Roman Catholic. In an interview, he then went on to attack the incumbent, Rep. Sander Levin: "I mean, that man has never owned a Christmas tree. He's not a Christian. And I'm thinking, 'Jeez, how can he represent me then?'" Howard Wallach, vice chairman of the Michigan chapter of the ADL, called Callahan's remarks "truly unfortunate and the worst kind of politics." Wallach added: "Candidates should be about representing people and issues regardless of their race or religion." Callahan later told the Detroit Free Press that he had indeed made the comments, but they were quoted "grossly out of context." He also apologized for the Christmas tree reference, adding that he had not meant to cause offense.

Armed Jewish group patrols in Queens

NEW YORK (JTA) — The Jewish Defense Group patrolled the New York borough of Queens without city permission.

Twenty-five members of the group patrolled the Kew Gardens and Forest Hills sections of Queens on July 4 with handguns, unloaded shotguns and baseball bats, saying they were out on the streets to protect the heavily Jewish communities from possible terror attacks.

The group expected arrests, but none was made, according to founder and chairman Rabbi Yakove Lloyd. The Second Amendment gives the group the right to patrol, Lloyd said. While mainstream Jewish groups have denounced the patrols, the group says it plans to patrol Queens on three random days each week.

Poll eyes New Jersey Jewish population

NEW YORK (JTA) — Bergen and Hudson counties in northern New Jersey are home to the third-highest concentration of Orthodox Jewish households in the United States, a new survey finds.

A 780-page study by the United Jewish Appeal Federation of Bergen County and North Hudson shows that 12 percent of Jewish households in the region identify themselves as Orthodox. Only New York City and Baltimore have higher concentrations of Orthodox Jews.

The study, which ranks the Bergen/Hudson County area as the 19th most populous region nationally, finds that Jews comprise 8 percent of all households in the area. A majority of the region's Jews, 32 percent, identify themselves as Conservative; 25 percent as Reform; 30 percent as "just Jewish"; and one percent as Reconstructionist. The report is based on telephone interviews with 1,003 Jews called at random.

Deportation ordered for Missouri man

ST. LOUIS (JTA) — A U.S. immigration judge ordered the deportation of a Missouri man who had served as a guard at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

Michael Negele, 81, was ordered deported to Romania after the U.S. Justice Department's Nazi-hunting unit, the Office of Special Investigations, proved that he had participated in Nazi-sponsored acts of persecution.

Report: Hate sites increase on Internet

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — Extremist activity on the Internet has increased since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

"Extremist groups are undoubtedly spending more of their efforts online," Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the center, said Monday as the center released its annual report on the spread of racism on the Internet, "Digital Hate 2002."

Researchers who examined some 25,000 Web sites per month identified 3,300 as "problematic," up from 2,600 a year ago, according to the report. Cooper said the center was particularly disturbed by a game called "Kaboom!" in which the computer user plays a suicide bomber in search of ways to cause maximum bloodshed.

Supremacists face trial for terror plans

BOSTON (JTA) — A trial began Monday in Boston for a couple described as white supremacists who allegedly planned to blow up Jewish or black landmarks in Boston.

Leo Felton and Erica Chase were arrested in April 2001 on counterfeiting charges. When police searched their apartment, they found bomb-making materials, books on terrorism, newspaper clippings of an upcoming ceremony at the New England Holocaust Memorial and photos of a bridge named after a late Jewish leader.

While prosecutors say they do not know the exact target, they said the couple wanted to destroy a target associated with Jews or blacks in order to ignite "a racial holy war."

Minister suspended for interfaith effort

A Lutheran minister was suspended for participating in a post-Sept. 11 interfaith prayer service in New York.

"To participate with pagans in an interfaith service" that included Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus "is an extremely serious offense against the God of the Bible," the Rev. Wallace Schulz, an official with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, wrote in the letter suspending the Rev. David Benke.

Supporters of Benke, who was also told to apologize to all Christians, said he would appeal the suspension by the church, the 10th largest in the United States. The Sept. 23 service was held in Yankee Stadium in New York.