In light of the terrorist attack at two mosques in New Zealand earlier today it is more important than ever that the security of our mosques is maintained, especially during busy periods like Friday prayers.
A breakdown of tips is below:
1. Establish contact with your local Police
- Request their support or presence at your mosque if you feel this will re-assure your worshippers.
- Develop a long-term relationship with them to ensure they can support you in future.
- Ensure they have your contact details, and also that your staff and volunteers have the contact numbers of your local Police or PCSO.
2. Re-assure your congregation
- Many of your worshippers and neighbours will naturally feel more anxious in such times as these. Re-assure them that such violent incidents are rare and your mosque and the Police are doing everything possible to keep them safe.
- Remind them to stay calm and measured – disunity and panic is exactly what the criminals are seeking to create and we must stand together and not let them succeed.
- Inform your worshippers of the means to report hate crime (See Point 5 & 6 below)
3. Emergency Exits
- Staff and volunteers should be aware of the main emergency exits of your building(s) and any emergency exit procedures.
- Ensure doors are not obstructed or locked.
4. Cameras and Alarms
- Cameras and alarms are effective deterrents against criminal activity. If you do not have cameras or alarm systems installed, consider installing them covering external and internal parts of your premises. Your local police can advise on suitable systems.
- If you do have them, ensure they are fully working and connected.
5. Reporting hate crime and threats
- If you fear a potential hate crime incident, report it by calling 999 directly.
- Less imminent threats can also be reported online
6. Informing congregation on reporting hate crime
- Many worshippers may not know how to report hate crime. Consider putting up posters in your mosque/circulating this information to your congregation via Whatsapp/Email on how to report hate crime via the above means.
- Posters should be in English as well as other languages spoken by your congregation.
If you or someone you know has encountered an Islamophobic incident, do not stay silent but please report it.