Presbyterians threatened over Israel policy
The Presbyterian Church in the USA has stepped up security at its headquarters and its churches as it reached a deadline contained in threats aimed at its Middle-eastern policies.
The denomination received a letter threatening arson attacks if it did not reverse its policy on Israel by 15th November.
The handwritten letter was sent to the church's Louisville headquarters, and threatened to set churches on fire while people were inside in retaliation for "anti-Israel and anti-Jewish attitudes," said Jerry Van Marter, director of the Presbyterian news service.
The letter was postmarked from Queens, in New York, Van Marter said.
Church officials are taking the threat seriously and have contacted law enforcement authorities
In June, the church's General Assembly decided to begin selective divestment from corporations profiting from the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. Presbyterian Church leaders set criteria earlier this month on which the phased process would go ahead.
The controversy ignited however after two national Presbyterian church members went to Lebanon to meet with Hezbollah, an organization on the U.S. government's watch list of terrorist groups.
The Presbyterian Church has over 11,000 congregations and 3 million members in the United States and Puerto Rico.