The Mosque Security team in partnership with CST & the Met Police provided a one day ‘Mosque Security Training’ workshop to Mosque managers, trustees, volunteers and Imams at Hayes Muslim Centre on the 6th May 2018. There were over 10 different representations of Mosques from around London & beyond.
British Muslims have been increasingly targeted, with figures showing that hate crimes targeting mosques in the UK doubled from 2016 to 2017. This year, the Muslim community was targeted with ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ letters and in June last year, Darren Osborne killed Makram Ali and injured nine others when he drove his van into worshippers in Finsbury Park. Other hate crimes against Mosques include bomb threats, vandalism and the placing of bacon and other pig products, which Muslims are forbidden from eating, on Mosque premises.
The training was broken up into three workshop presentations started by the Met Police providing an overview of the work being done nationally to tackle Islamophobia ensure another Finsbury Park attack doesn’t occur. There was also a local rep from the police speaking specifically about the work being done in Hayes and Harlington to protect the community.
The presentation from the security expert at CST (https://cst.org.uk/), who has been providing training to the Jewish community for over 30 years really challenged those in attendance to think critically about the safety of the Mosque; providing various case study examples. CST have been doing some brilliant work in the security and safety sector in protecting the Jewish community for decades, their presentation was well received by those in attendance which highlighted by an engaging Q&A session.
Shaukat Warraich, Faith Associates CEO, finished the training with a detailed look at the Incident Management Guide (http://www.faithassociates.co.uk/publications/incident-management-guide-2016/) developed in 2016 to protect faith institutions. Shaukat went through various case studies of Mosques that had suffered attacks and the step by step process of what to do if something occurs. A key part of the training was to inform the mosque management of what to do if an attack occurs, but most important aspect was preventing anything happening at all. The incident management guide provides various measures that need to be put in place by the Mosques from CCTVs to having a dedicated security officer.
CST’s Chief Executive, David S Delew, said:
“Religious communities up and down the country face varying security threats, so we are pleased to work with Faith Associates in their mission to improve Mosque security. CST has a long tradition of working with other faiths to improve their security, whether through advice or training, and will continue to do so whenever we can. When communities work together we are always stronger, and we are hopeful that this is a positive step towards deeper ties between our communities.”
Shaukat Warraich, CEO of Faith Associates said:
“The Finsbury Park attack highlighted the potential vulnerability of Mosques and exposed the risks for faith communities and their institutions. The Mosque Security training programme should help our institutions refine their approach to security. We brought together partners from the Metropolitan Police and the Jewish Community, the CST, to share knowledge and experience in securing religious intuitions. Everyone’s desire to help, advise and teach was helpful, and the lessons we learnt during these collective sessions will help protect all our communities for years to come.”
Faith Associates and the Mosque Security team thanks the CST security staff and the Met Police for being involved on the day.