MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A man is facing charges after harassing a rabbi outside the Ohev Shalom Congregation in Miami Beach, police said.
According to the arrest report, Diego Chaar, 24, first yelled out "Allahu akbar," which is translated from Arabic as "God is great" or "God is greater."
Police said the Rabbi David Weberman and a witness ignored Chaar, at which point he yelled, "Heads will be cut off" and "I will cut your head off."
The victim feared for his life at that point and called 911. The witness followed Chaar in his vehicle while the victim followed him on foot. Police officers located the suspect hiding behind a car, filled out an incident report and released him at the scene.
The report states Chaar walked by the synagogue again and again began to scream "Allahu akbar." Police were called for a second time, at which point Chaar was taken into custody.
Local 10 News reporter Roger Lohse spoke to Chaar, who admitted saying "Allahu akbar" but said he never threatened anyone.
"This is not a hate crime," Chaar said. "This has nothing to do with them being Jewish. I just want to help them find peace within themselves."
Chaar said he converted to Islam three years ago while serving time in prison on drug charges.
"Christians say 'Jesus saves' all day, every day," Chaar said. "I was a Christian before until I converted. I'm trying to convert these people, but they seem scared. They want to be scared. They want to call the police."
Chaar said the allegations that he threatened them are a lie.
"There's no proof I said I was going to cut their heads off," Chaar said.
Lohse asked Chaar why he would scream "Allahu akbar" in the first place.
"Because I don't want them to burn in eternal hell forever," Chaar said. "I want to help. They're good people."
Chaar said he isn't a threat.
Local 10 placed several telephone calls to Weberman, but he did not return the calls. Local 10 was able to contact the other temple member involved, identified in the police report as Issac Rosenberg. He declined to make any comments on camera.
Chaar faces charges of assault with religious prejudice and stalking.
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