INDIANAPOLIS — A woman labeled a “terrorist” by police is officially charged with three felony counts after attempting to commit a hate crime against a Jewish school. She instead drove her car, unknowingly, into a building used by an antisemitic sect of Black Hebrew Israelites.
Ruba Almaghtheh, 34, was officially charged on Wednesday with one count of intimidation, a Level 5 felony; criminal recklessness, a Level 6 felony, and institutional criminal mischief, a Level 6 felony.
“We cannot and will not tolerate hate in our community,” said Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears after announcing the charges.
According to previous reports, Almaghtheh rammed her vehicle into a building in the 3500 block of N. Keystone Avenue on Saturday night. Two adults and three children were inside the building at the time of the collision.
Almaghtheh’s attack has been called a hate crime by authorities as she purposely chose to target the building due to believing it was a Jewish school due to the “Hebrew Israelite” symbol on the front of the building.
Almaghtheh told police she had been watching news coverage of the Israel-Hamas war and was spurred into action for “her people back in Palestine” and admitting to ramming the “Jewish” building on purpose.
In reality, however, the building targetted by Almaghtheh was used by the Israelite School of Universal and Practical Knowledge — a sect of Black Hebrew Israelites labeled by the Anti-Defamation League as “extreme and antisemitic” and classified as a hate group.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis called the attack “ironic” due to Almaghtheh’s intentions of committing an antisemitic attack but then, in her ignorance, attacking a group known to hold antisemitic beliefs.
“This is yet another reminder to maintain security protocols, remain vigilant of suspicious activity and to (report promptly) to the appropriate authorities,” the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis said.
Almaghtheh is being held on a $200,000 bond.
In Indiana, no hate crime criminal charge exists to add to Almaghtheh’s current felony charges. A bill passed in 2019 only allows a hate crime enhancement to be added to a prison sentence after a felony conviction.
Almaghtheh most serious charge, a Level 5 felony, carries a sentencing range of one to six years.