Security Tips for Places of Worship
The tenth anniversary of 9/11 will surely spark a series of conversations on the current state of national security. Unfortunately, because of the toxicity of our political culture, we will have to tolerate hate speech from a few groups and individuals within the United States. Some of that hate speech could lead to violence against individuals and community institutions. We must be vigilant in reporting any criminal activity while preserving the openness of our community and our society.
The following Quranic verse reminds us that issues of security should always be referred to an authority figure and shall not lead to spying on one another or slander:
…if they would but refer it unto the Apostle and unto those from among the believers who have been entrusted with authority, such of them as are engaged in obtaining intelligence would indeed know [what to do with] it. And but for God’s bounty towards you, and His grace, all but a few of you would certainly have followed Satan. Quran 4:83
Hence, we call on our community to report any suspicious behavior. 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.
GENERAL SECURITY PRINCIPLES
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 are needed, the point person to contact 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 mosque, having good relations with local law enforcement will prove to be a more effective tool in combating anything suspicious.
MAHSC Executive Board
Bilal Islamic Center, CAIR, COPAA, IMAN Center, Islamic Center of Hawthorne, Islamic Center of Reseda,
Islamic Center of San Gabriel Valley, Islamic Center of South Bay , Islamic Center of Southern California,
Islamic Shura Council, MAS, MPAC, Omar Ibn Al Khattab Foundation