MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - WMBF News is the first to sit down with Rabbi Avi Perets of Temple Emanu-el to hear reaction after an alleged planned attack "in the spirit of Dylann Roof" was made.
"We have never met this guy, we have never seen him before or done anything wrong to him," said Rabbi Avi Perets. "So why would someone we have never met, has no business with us, would like to do such a horrible thing? I guess that's his ideology, but we really have to think about how to get rid of evil from this world."
Perets said investigators advised him to keep quiet once he received word about the alleged attack suspect Benjamin McDowell was going to make.
"It's been a tense ordeal the last few weeks, it's not easy to know there is someone out there who wants to hurt my community. However, first I would like to thank God the Almighty for helping us and saving us," Perets said.
He added how thankful he and the Jewish community are for what law enforcement has done to help prevent what could have happened.
"Detective Woods, the police, the FBI and all the law enforcement agencies. They did a fantastic job, I cannot thank them enough for taking care of this situation. They did what they needed to do and the Jewish community is grateful to them."
When asked if he has heard any sort of fear from his temple's members or any reluctance to come and worship, he said, "No."
"Yesterday we had our regular Shabbat service where we always come and worship and pray to God, and we had the largest crowd we have ever had. Our people showed us support for coming here and that was heartwarming to see," he said. "They wanted to be here, and they showed that people like Benjamin McDowell can't stop us."
Rabbi Perets said he hopes and prays for the Dylann Roof "copycat" not to give others the idea of hate.
"We need education in schools, education in the synagogue, the churches, with rabbis, and pastors. Look, we have to live together in harmony, we all were created in the image of God and we are all equal. I have already gotten many phone calls and everyone would condemn this act," he said.
"It's shocking to here this, I have served in this community for 15 years and have never had an incident like this," he added.
Benjamin McDowell remains behind bars at the Florence County Detention Center and will go before a judge Tuesday.
Watch the full story and interview Sunday on WMBF News at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.