Home Office spends £5 million to keep mosques and other places of worship safe

Home Office spends £5 million to keep mosques and other places of worship safe

Leaders at mosques and other places of worship are to receive training on how to keep worshippers safe.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the Government would spend £5 million to provide the training.

It follows the terrorist attack on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Fifty people died in the shootings at two mosques after a lone attacker opened fire during Friday prayers. Thirty injured people remain in hospital, nine in a critical condition.

The UK Government will provide £5 million over three years to provide protective security training at places of worship.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said he wanted staff and volunteers to know how to ensure protective measures work effectively.

The Government has also provided £1.6 million for security measures at places of worship.

 

The places of worship fund, established in 2016 as part of the government’s hate crime action plan, provides financial support for physical protective security such as fencing, lighting and CCTV. Government previously committed funding of £2.4 million over 3 years.

So far, more than a third of grants under the places of Worship Protective Funding scheme have been awarded to mosques.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid

Mr Javid, MP for Bromsgrove, said: “The horrific events in New Zealand are a direct attack on the values of tolerance and freedom of worship that unite us all.

“Nobody should ever fear persecution of their faith and it’s vital we stand together to reject those who seek to spread hatred and divide us.

“I know many Muslim communities are feeling vulnerable and anxious. But they should seek comfort from knowing we are doing everything to tackle hate and extremism.

“That’s why we are doubling next year’s places of worship fund – providing physical protection as well as peace of mind.”

 

It comes after Security Minister Ben Wallace  warned an attack on Muslim worshippers of the kind seen in New Zealand “absolutely could happen here”.

Mr Wallace said the Government is concerned about a “growing” number of people in the UK driven by far-right ideas, and indicated he was ready to consider boosting funds to protect mosques and other Muslim community institutions.

His comments came as the Muslim Council of Britain wrote to ask the Government for more resources for security measures, of the kind seen at many Jewish synagogues in Britain.

MCB spokesman Miqdaad Versi told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There is a real worry that, given how open mosques are, people are able to enter mosques; the level of security at mosques is basically non-existent because it’s an open place.

“There is a real concern that things might need to change.”

 

Mr Versi said the Community Security Trust, which provides protection for Jewish places of worship, could provide a model for mosques.

But he said that some Muslim institutions had been turned down for funding for security.

“Unfortunately, until today, the Government doesn’t seem to be engaging with many Muslim institutions, including the Muslim Council of Britain,” he said.

And he added: “What we need is equivalent support for all different communities whatever their faith background, whatever their positioning. At the moment £14 million goes to the Community Security Trust for Jewish synagogues and schools, and £2.4 million towards all other faiths over the last three years. I think there needs to be some work on that.”

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