UK Mosques Urged To Install Panic Alarms And Saferooms

An American Islamic group has been advising
British mosques on security measures, including
the installation of safe rooms and panic alarms,
warning that they are at greater risk than in any
other western country.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
has discussed its revamped security regulations
with the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) in light of
the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby, 25, in Woolwich,
south-east London, which it said had even provoked
attacks in the United States.

The security improvements encouraged by CAIR,
America’s largest Muslim advocacy group,
encourage the building of transparent fences
around mosques, wire screens on windows,
designated security officials, three-inch-thick doors,
panic alarms and safe rooms.

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for CAIR, said: “From
the outside it definitely seems UK mosques are
more at risk than anywhere, including the States.
There have been a number of recent incidents
targeting UK mosques, groups like the English
Defence League marching on mosques and a spike
in violent right-wing groups.”

Ibrahim Mogra, assistant secretary general of the
MCB, said: while a panic alarm that could instantly alert police might in certain areas be installed, it was vital mosques did not become too security conscious. “We don’t want mosques going overboard, where it’s almost like a fortified place.
We want these places to be open, and seen to be
welcoming places that people would not hesitate to
visit. Clearly our American friends have shown
concern for us and have shared their safety and
security measures. Although not all are relevant, we
can learn from each other’s experiences. The
common foe is a criminal we wish to keep out.”

According to Tell Mama, the government-funded
monitoring project that records anti-Muslim
attacks, about 12 mosques have been targeted
since Woolwich, including one in Grimsby where
three petrol bombs were thrown. Counter-terrorism
police are investigating whether an arson attack on
a Somali community centre in Muswell Hill, north
London, was in response to the killing of Rigby. The
letters EDL were found freshly painted on the
building’s walls, although the far-right group denies
any involvement. Tensions have also been inflamed
by Old Bailey hearings last week documenting a
planned terrorist attack on an EDL demonstration
that prosecutors say would have sparked a “tit-for-
tat spiral of violence and terror” across the country.

Fiyaz Mughal, director of the conflict resolution
charity Faith Matters, said too many mosques
remained vulnerable to attack in the aftermath of
Woolwich. Mughal said that, of the UK’s 1,500
mosques, 1,300 urgently needed to improve

He added:”There are a significant number
of mosques that don’t have CCTV, that don’t do an
audit of their lighting around their building. Many of
these mosques you can walk into without anybody
asking anything. The vast amount of mosques really
need to reconsider their safety measures. I would
classify them as vulnerable, given the changing
climate since 7/7. But Woolwich is a huge turning
point and if the mosques don’t realise that, they
really need to wake up to it.”

Hooper said his group had recently contacted the
FBI after a mosque in Georgia was vandalised with
apparent reference to the murder of Rigby. The
sign for the Islamic Centre of North Fulton was
spray-painted with the phrase “London Justice”.Source


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