Security Tips for Places of Worship

October 5, 2015

Photo by Mark

Outside of 9/11, multiple attacks against various houses of worship – churches, temples, synagogues, and mosques – have occurred, necessitating security for congregations.

Grounded in a moral desire to protect faith communities, the following information should serve as a guide to think about the security of places of worship:

If you see something or someone unfamiliar, do not hesitate to contact the leaders of your community, or go straight to your local law enforcement. Local law enforcement agencies are set up to serve and protect communities and as such should be utilized as an effective tool of defense.

Use judgment, critical thinking skills and act judiciously; For instance, if unfamiliar people appear and engage in suspicious behavior around the mosque, report it to authorities.

Create a security checklist; so that members of the mosque are aware that there are protocols in place should something arise. Leaders within the community should create a checklist of what action items need to take place, the point person for contacting the authorities and an evacuation plan if needed.

Establish good relations with local law enforcement, so that a common trust is built between your community and the authorities. In the event an attack may occur against the community or mosque, having good relations with local law enforcement will prove to be a more effective tool in combating anything suspicious.   

Remember communication is key; therefore, creating a response plan to an attack or post-incident procedures is important to think about. Communication before, during and after an incident serves as a control feature to ensuring safety until law enforcement or the appropriate authorities are contacted.

These safety tips are intended to provide a general guide to communities, religious centers and leaders in the event of any attack or incident that may occur.

For more information about safety to secure religious institutions, please see the Anti-Defamation League’s Security Kit to protect houses of worship here

If anyone needs assistance connecting to their local law enforcement, please contact MPAC's Washington, DC office at 202-547-7701.                                                 



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