The interactive training discusses security steps to take and how to assess an institution's vulnerability to attack. It includes safety preparation and planning, details on security equipment, how to deal with an armed intruder, procedures for handling bomb threats or suspicious packages, and links to security resources available from private and government sources.
CAIR-MN is also setting up on-site safety checks to provide site visits by community safety officers.
The new training is offered following the publication of CAIR's new "Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety." The booklet was distributed to more than 50 mosques and organizations in Minnesota this week.
Drafted by a leading security consultant, it seeks to better equip the community with the knowledge necessary to protect against racial and religious bigotry or attacks. The booklet was produced in response to recent bias attacks targeting American Muslim institutions.
Last week, CAIR-MN called on state and national law enforcement authorities to investigate repeated vandalism targeting a mosque in Owatonna as a possible bias-motivated crime.
"In addition to an increase in discrimination against Muslims in areas of employment, public accommodation and law enforcement profiling, our office has seen an increase in hate crimes," said CAIR-MN Executive Director Lori Saroya. "At a time when a very vocal minority is shaping national sentiment on Islam and Muslims, safety training is urgently needed."
She noted that CAIR-MN recently called on the Minneapolis Police Department to offer retraining on proper documentation and investigation of reported bias incidents following claims that two recent attacks on Muslims in that city were mishandled.
Saroya said that CAIR-MN handled more than 180 cases of hate, harassment and discrimination involving Minnesota Muslims and other racial and religious minorities in the last year.
This training is made possible by a grant from the Elmer L. and Eleanor J. Andersen Foundation.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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