Safe Spaces Initiative

Tools for Developing Healthy Communities

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Learn the tips and tools to maintain a safe & healthy community


About the Paper

Safe Spaces is about empowering communities in order to secure the sanctity of the mosque and Muslim communities in promoting Islamic values of civic engagement, public safety and healthy identity formation.

We realize that violent extremism is a small problem in number, but incalculable in impact, especially when it comes to American Muslim communities. Safe Spaces is an alternative to both heavy-handed law enforcement tactics and government-led countering violent extremism (CVE) programs. Rather than accepting the notion that the only way to deal with terrorism is through tactics such as widespread surveillance and the use of informants, Safe Spaces relies on community-led and community-driven programs that communities and mosques will benefit from beyond the national security context.

In fact, Safe Spaces is a framework that can be used for issues other than violent extremism, and will most likely be used for those other issues. For example, having a safe space that openly and honestly discusses relevant issues with community members provides a healthy environment for people to deal with issues of addiction, family issues, domestic violence, political grievances, among many more. It also serves as a safe environment for individuals to access the necessary resources they need. Safe Spaces is about empowering communities in a way that promotes healthy vibrant communities, and the public interest for all people.

What is MPAC's PI Model?

We've developed two types of community-based assistance called the Prevention and Intervention, or PI model.

  • Prevention


    The best solution is to prevent a crisis from happening in the first place. In this regard, our toolkit provides suggestions that offer healthy outlets and guidance on issues ranging from increasing religious knowledge and political activism training, to discussing "hot topic" issues like foreign policy, gender relations and alcohol/drug abuse.

  • Intervention


    Unfortunately, in some cases, despite the help and assistance being offered, some may choose to continue down a path of destruction. In those cases we provide information to help communities decide when intervention assistance should be offered.

Our strategy is similar to how public schools and universities seek to prevent tragedies like Columbine and Virginia Tech. To combat situations similar to targeted violence in schools, schools formed teams of teachers, psychologists, and other staff to identify problems and see if there are alternatives to arrest, such as counseling. This method of intervention has subsequently been proved effective; similarly, we believe our communities can establish processes to identify and properly intervene in situations where a person may be heading down a path of violence.


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