Following the horrific attack on a Mosque in the Canadian city of Quebec late Sunday evening that saw 6 people killed and a further 8 injured, Mosques across Europe and North America are making a conscious decision to step up their security measures in order to prevent further atrocities from taking place.
The attack on the Quebec Mosque is one in a long line of recent attacks that have taken place on Mosques and Islamic Centres across North America and Europe in recent months. On Saturday, only a few hours after Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban’ came into effect, The Islamic Centre of Victoria in Texas was burned to the ground. In December, several attacks on Mosques were reported which included racist graffiti on a Mosque in Scotland and a shooting at an Islamic Centre in Switzerland.
In an atmosphere of heightened anxiety and fear fueled by increasing Islamophobia and dangerous political rhetoric, the attack on the Quebec City Islamic Center compounds the fear that exists within Muslim communities who feel increasingly threatened and targeted because of their faith.
Within this context, Muslims across Europe and North America are taking the initiative to protect their places of worship from attack.
Four of the largest mosques in the Netherlands have taken the decision to shut their doors during congregational prayers. The Blue Mosque in Amsterdam, The Hague’s as-Sunnah Mosque, Rotterdam’s EsSalam Mosque and the Omar Al Farouq Mosque in Utrecht said in a statement, “We feel compelled to close mosque doors during prayers“. Additional safety cameras have also been set up at the Blue Mosque, which is in the southwestern suburbs of the Dutch capital.
In the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, police in the two main cities – Saskatoon and Regina – have said that they will increase their patrols in and around the Mosques and station officers during scheduled prayer hours over the next few days. Police have also taken measures to increase their patrols around Mosques in populous American areas such as Boston and New York.
These recent attacks on Mosques reiterate the vulnerability of Islamic institutions and affirms that the safety and security of Islamic faith institutions is something that needs to be taken very seriously. The management, staff and volunteers of these institutions need to ensure they are best prepared to deal with crises and have designated chains of communication to alert the appropriate authorities in the case of an atrocity such as Quebec.
The following publications have been created to help facilitate this: