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Prosecution adds hate crime charges to suspect in stabbing of Boston rabbi

Attack on Rabbi Shlomo Noginski outside a Jewish school on July 1 ‘was rooted in antisemitism’ district attorney says; Khaled Awad to undergo competency evaluation

Khaled Awad, left, appears in Brighton District Court in Boston on July 8, 2021, for a dangerousness hearing. Awad has been charged with stabbing Rabbi Shlomo Noginski several times near a Jewish day school. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, Pool)
Khaled Awad, left, appears in Brighton District Court in Boston on July 8, 2021, for a dangerousness hearing. Awad has been charged with stabbing Rabbi Shlomo Noginski several times near a Jewish day school. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, Pool)

BOSTON, Massachusetts — A man already charged with stabbing a rabbi outside a Jewish school in Boston now faces additional hate crime offenses, prosecutors said Thursday.

Khaled Awad, who is originally from Egypt, arrived in the United States with biased views against Jews, Christians and American culture, Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Margaret Hegarty said during a court hearing.

Witnesses who knew or interacted with Awad told investigators he would become angry if his views were challenged, she said.

“The witnesses also noticed that the suspect would stereotype various differences in racial groups and behavior, which included whites, blacks, and that he was especially harsh on Jews,” the prosecutor said.

Awad, 24, who has been living in Boston, was charged Thursday with a civil rights violation, causing injury and intimidation with bodily injury, prosecutors said. He has already pleaded not guilty to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and six other charges in connection with the July 1 stabbing of Rabbi Shlomo Noginski outside the Shaloh House in the city’s Brighton neighborhood.

“We believe this was rooted in antisemitism,” District Attorney Rachael Rollins said outside the courthouse.

Rabbi Shlomo Noginski in a Boston hospital recovering from a stabbing attack on July 1, 2021. (Rabbi Dan Rodkin)

Noginski, an Israeli citizen with 12 children, was stabbed multiple times in the arm, and was released from the hospital the day after the stabbing.

Awad was seen acting suspiciously near the Shaloh House the day before the attack, when he first demanded Noginski’s car keys, Hegarty said. In addition, Noginski was wearing a yarmulke, and Awad had to walk past a Menorah, suggesting that he targeted Jews, the prosecutor said.

Awad’s court-appointed attorney, Stephen Weymouth, requested a competency evaluation. A court clinician told the judge that Awad has been diagnosed as bipolar and has not been taking his medications while in Massachusetts.

“Competency could be an issue,” Weymouth said in court. He also dismissed the idea that the stabbing was a hate crime, and said it was more likely a “crime of opportunity” in an effort to steal a vehicle.

Awad was ordered to undergo further psychiatric evaluation at a state hospital.

A dangerousness hearing scheduled for Thursday was postponed until July 29, after the evaluation.

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