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Community Advisory – ADC Alarmed by Hate Crimes, Threats to places of Worship

Washington, D.C. | www.adc.org | July 3, 2016  – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is alarmed by the significant rise in violent hate rhetoric and crimes targeting the Arab and Muslim American communities.  The attacks are coming as millions of Muslim Americans prepare to celebrate Eid Al Fitr, which marks the end of the Islamic Holy Month of Ramadan.

Early Sunday morning a Muslim doctor was shot and stabbed outside a Texas mosque. Late last week two Arab men were shot near a Minneapolis mosque as they were on their way to prayer. These are just two of the many examples of violent hate crimes targeting respective communities. ADC urges community members to take all threats seriously, and work with law enforcement to protect all religious institutions, including mosques during Eid Al-Fitr Prayers and celebrations.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offers a number of valuable resources which provide information on how to protect a place of worship Much of the information provided is made available through the DHS – Hometown Security Program. ADC reminds its members and greater community to be safe and exercise precaution. Please keep the following precautionary advisory tips in mind.

If you feel you have been a victim of a hate crime, of if any individual or place of worship needs any assistance with any of the above, including dealing with law enforcement, please contact the ADC Pro Bono Legal Department at 202-244-2990 or to legal@adc.org.

Precaution Advisory

  • Connect: Reach out and develop relationships in your community, including local law enforcement. Having these relationships established before an incident occurs can help speed up the response when something happens, or when a threat is imminent. It is advisable to find out whether your place of worship has an open line of communication with law enforcement. If there is no line of communication, it is advised that one be established. A request for law enforcement presence should be made with law enforcement prior to the Eid prayer.
  • Plan: Take time now to plan on how you will handle a security event should one occur. Mosque leaders are encouraged to have an emergency plan that can be implemented should the need arise.  Be familiar with all the exits to your place of worship, in case the building is attacked.
  • Train: Provide employees and members of the congregation with training resources and exercise your plan often. The best laid plan must be exercised in order to be effective.
  • If finances allow, mosques should retain armed security personnel to protect the premise during Eid prayer and celebrations.
  • If you see someone suspicious at the place of worship, please contact law enforcement immediately.

Department of Homeland Security Resources

  • Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative (NSI) information is available by clicking here. SAR training for private sector partners is located here.
  • DHS Infrastructure Protection works with community members to enhance overall security infrastructure at places of worship. To learn more about the program, please contact Protective Security Advisors, DHS Infrastructure Protection, nicc@dhs.gov to be connected with regional protective security advisors. For more info click here.