November 15, 2016 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is alarmed by the significant rise in violent hate rhetoric and crimes targeting Arab and Muslim American communities, and communities of color. These attacks have intensified after the presidential election held last week.
The recently released 2015 Hate Crimes Report shows that hate crimes have increased against Arabs and Muslims. The Southern Poverty Law Center has reported over 200 incidents of hateful harassment and intimidation since election day. The reported numbers post-election are higher than the immediate post-9/11 backlash. ADC urges community members to take all threats seriously, and work with law enforcement to protect all religious institutions, including mosques and churches during prayer services.
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.
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 email@example.com.
ADC reminds its members and greater community to be safe and exercise precaution. Please keep the following precautionary advisory tips in mind.
- If you are placed in physical danger because of your ethnicity, religion or national origin: Call the police (dial 911 in most communities), and/or click here to contact your local FBI office. It is the FBI’s job to investigate hate-motivated crimes and specific threats of violence. You can also report a hate crime to the FBI online using this form.
- 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 large gatherings at places of worship.
- Plan: Take time now to plan on how you will handle a security event should one occur. Leaders at places of worship 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, places of worship should retain armed security personnel to protect the premise during prayer and celebrations.
- If you see someone suspicious at the place of worship, please contact law enforcement immediately.
Department of Homeland Security Resources
- DHS Active Shooter resources are available here.
- 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, firstname.lastname@example.org to be connected with regional protective security advisors. For more info click here.
- DHS Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – training resources website
- FEMA All-Hazards Emergency Operations Planning website
- The Comprehensive Preparedness Guide (CPG) 101 can be viewed here.