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Local religious leader unfazed by ISIS threats targeting churches

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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Federal authorities warned Friday that ISIS sympathizers “continue aspirational calls for attacks on holiday gatherings, including targeting churches,” according to CNN.

The bulletin was issued by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security and issued to law enforcement agencies and private security companies around the U.S.

At Rising Mount Zion Baptist Church in Henrico’s East End, volunteers worked late into the night Friday setting up for a live nativity scene on Christmas Day featuring a live camel.

“How often do you get to celebrate the birth of Christ on Christmas on a Sunday?” Pastor Roscoe Cooper, asked.

Pastor Roscoe Cooper

Pastor Roscoe Cooper

Pastor Cooper said he’s not fazed by the new warning.

“My bible says God has not given us the spirit of fear but the power of love and a sound mind,” Cooper said.

Cooper said he takes the warning seriously, bit has safety measures in place to protect his parishioners.

“We have a security ministry, we have off duty police officers who are present in our service, we have security cameras that cover all our doors, all our hallways,” Cooper said.


Still, he said people should not fear celebrating the birth of Jesus in sanctuaries like his across RVA.

“I understand their thought process right, to have the biggest effect biggest impact but they will not thwart our faith and our faithfulness we’re still going to come out, we’re still going to worship,” Cooper said about the ISIS sympathizers.

U.S. law enforcement officials said there are no specific credible threats associated with this warning, which was issued out of an abundance of caution.