Religious institutions nationwide that are considering additional safety measures in response to the recent massacre at a Sutherland Springs, TX church can tap into the advice provided in a booklet published by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization.
CAIR is urging all houses of worship to take extra security precautions using its “Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety” booklet. The advice in CAIR’s security publication is applicable to religious institutions of all faiths.
“American Muslims share the same values and freedoms that we all cherish, knowing that we are all in this together,” said CAIR spokesperson Arsalan Bukhari. “All Americans deserve the right and freedom to worship in their own way, free of threats or violence.”
CAIR’s safety guide provides a general framework in which to think about institutional security. The advice falls within the following broad categories:
- Be Aware
- Assess Your Vulnerability
- Prepare and Plan
“This framework can be applied to all sorts of security issues, from hate graffiti to burglary or to an active-shooter episode,” according to CAIR. “Decision-makers must decide which recommendations are best applied to their facility. They must also decide the order in which they will implement the process.”
Other initial safety steps recommended in CAIR’s guide include developing positive relationships with local law enforcement agencies, meeting with elected officials to discuss community concerns, building coalitions with interfaith and minority groups, holding community meetings to inform others of safety guidelines, and establishing a community support network.
CAIR’s community safety booklet was first published several years ago in response to a spike in anti-mosque incidents nationwide.