FBI Raids Apartment in Search for Synagogue Vandal

Man says family has nothing to hide

By Dick Johnson and Zach Christman
|  Thursday, Jul 30, 2009  |  Updated 1:44 PM CDT
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Jewish Sites Vandalized Around City

A star of David decorates the Temple of Sholom, which was hit with a molotov cocktail in late December.

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"We Don't Have Nothing to Hide"

Feb. 12, 2009: A North Side family says the have nothing to hide, despite federal investigators spending 8 hours in the home in a probe into vandalism at Jewish-owned buildings in Chicago.

Jewish Sites Vandalized Around City

A rash of vandalism hits synagogues and Jewish schools on the North and West sides, and authorities are calling them hate crimes.
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The feds spent 8 hours Thursday inside an apartment looking for clues about vandalism at Jewish buildings across the city.

The FBI raided an apartment in the West Rogers Park neighborhood around 7:30 a.m.  Investigators didn't leave the building in the 6000 block of North Artesian Avenue until after 4 p.m.

Computer equipment and other items were taken out of the building, according to the Trib.  Two vehicles were also searched, according to a family member.

Two men were questioned in the third-floor apartment of the building.  The two men were identified by a family member as Tawfiq Alkara and his son, Muhammed.  The family member, who said she's Tawfiq's daughter, said they are a family of Arab Muslims from Jordan.

Muhammed Alkara, 24, spoke to NBC Chicago after investigators left.  He was clearly upset by the ordeal.

"They searched the cars, they searched the house.  We don't have nothing to hide," Alkara said.  "There's no evidence, there's nothing."

Alkara said he was surprised that the feds showed up at his family's door.  Asked if he had any animosity toward Jewish people, Alkara said, "No, of course not."

The landlord, William Kivarkis, described the Alkara family as "very nice people."

"They've been for a while here -- seven, eight years," he said.

The Joint Terrorism Task force and Chicago's Bomb and Arson Squad participated in the investigation.  No arrests were made.  The FBI would not disclose what it found inside the apartment, only saying it would take some time to go through what was collected.

The investigation stems from a molotov cocktail being thrown at Temple Sholom in December, spray-painted vandalism on a Lincolnwood synagogue in January, and a rock thrown through a window at Lubavitch Mesivta synagogue and school, and two other incidents.

Authorities have called the incidents hate crimes.

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