All praise and thanks belong to God, the Lord of the Worlds,
Asalaam Alaykum Brothers & Sisters,
May peace and prayers be upon Prophet Muhammad
As you know, a man opened fire at a Texas church over the weekend, killing 27 people in a matter of seconds.
In light of this attack, as well as a recent accidental fire at a Georgia mosque, we encourage houses of worship and private schools to review their security precautions.
You can download a security guide prepared by CAIR here.
We also encourage your masjid to:
As for private Islamic schools, we encourage you to apply the parts of the list that are relevant to you, and also:
- Form a three-person safety and security committee charged with planning and overseeing the protection of the masjid.
- Use VISIBLE high-definition outdoor and indoor security cameras so as to deter attackers, and assist in the investigation of any incident.
- Limit entry access to the masjid to TWO doors, but make many exit doors available. That is, ensure there are many ways to leave the masjid, but only two ways to enter it.
- If possible, keep the entry doors to the masjid locked, and require community members to type an electronic passcode to enter the building. This is meant to ensure that an attacker cannot enter the building and assault you from behind while you pray. If locking the doors is not feasible, consider appointing two people to stand apart and stand watch during the five daily prayers.
- Per the advice of local law enforcement, appoint at least one or two trusted and licensed community members to carry a concealed firearm inside the mosque so that these guardians can immediately respond to an active shooter situation.
- Develop and practice an emergency evacuation plan.
- Hire a police officer to visibly stand guard during Eid and Jum'ah.
- Host an an active shooter response training for the masjid.
- Build connections with the community by inviting local politicians, local law enforcement, churchgoers and other neighbors to the masjid for interfaith dinners.
If you would like CAIR Georgia to deliver its self-defense seminar at your masjid or private school, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Hire an armed guard to serve during the school day. Although somewhat costly, every school should do this, even if you have to fundraise for that specific purpose.
- Install a unique panic button in the front office that can instantly trigger a building-wide alert used only in the event of an attack (fire alarms are not enough, for people often react indifferently to them). Some security companies also sell portable devices that can instantly trigger an alert to the security company.
- Install deadbolts on classroom doors and arrange classrooms so that teachers can easily use furniture (book shelves, etc.) to quickly barricade door in the event of an intruder.
Finally, see below for videos about how to use pepper spray, as well as how to handle an active shooter situation.
May Allah guide and protect you!
Edward Ahmed Mitchell
Council on American-Islamic Relations