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North Texas hostage situation triggers calls for action against anti-Semitism

Locally, the Anti-Defamation League is asking all faith-based organizations to be vigilant and to have a plan in place for any type of violence that could occur.

HOUSTON — "I was horrified. I was scared, terrified, really. And I was very, very concerned for the safety of those individuals who were being held hostage at the synagogue."

That was the reaction Mark Toubin had to Saturday’s hostage situation. He’s the director of the Southwest Regional Anti-Defamation League.

"It's so unfortunate that houses of worship in this country are targets for terrorism and for violence," he said.

He says across the country, they have seen an increase in anti-Semitism.

"It has been rising significantly over the last few years. And the last couple of years, we have seen some of the highest levels we have ever encountered."

Toubin also says the league has seen violence increase against other minority groups. It’s that hate they fear can turn violent.

"There have been a rise in all forms of hate in this country over the last few years," said Toubin. 

RELATED: Here's everything we know about the Colleyville synagogue hostage situation, as of Sunday

That's why they’re asking every faith-based organization to be vigilant and prepared for any worst case scenario.

According to the Associated Press, the rabbi in Saturday's incident said they wouldn't have been able to act if it hadn't been for the training they've had previously.

"Make sure you have a written, documented plan and make sure you have training that goes on a few times a year and make sure you get it right," said Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen. "We are here and other agencies are willing to come out."

RELATED: Local Jewish community reacts to hostage situation in Dallas-Forth Worth area

But they say responsibility also falls on the members of the congregation to keep their eyes open to anything suspicious.

"If you see something, say something," said Toubin. "Don’t be embarrassed or shy about raising the question."

If you would like to report any suspicious activity, be sure to call the police first. But you can also report it online to the Anti-Defamation League.