The perpetrator of the attack on the synagogue of Halle on 9 October 2019, once he realised he would not succeed killing Jews, attacked a Turkish restaurant seeking to kill Muslims.
The attacks in the mosques of Christchurch and Bærum, the churches in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray and Nice, and unfortunately many others, have highlighted the urgency and importance of collaborating with other communities of faith in the field of security.
In June 2020, the Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission (DG-HOME) launched a call for proposals to increase the protection of houses of worship in Europe, as one of the priorities of its Internal Security Fund – Police (ISF-P).
The ISF-P is a dedicated instrument to enhance the capacity of the EU and the Member States for managing effectively security-related risk and crises, and preparing for protecting people against terrorist attacks and other security related incidents.
Security and Crisis Centre (SACC) by EJC decided to build a dedicated partnership with three well-established organisations from the Christian, Muslim and Buddhist communities:
- Conference of European Churches
- Faith Matters
- European Buddhist Union
The result of this partnership is the project ‘Safer and Stronger Communities in Europe’ (SASCE).
SASCE is a multi-layered approach to dramatically increase security in and around places of worship, as well as within and between Christian, Buddhist, Muslim and Jewish communities.
The SASCE project – has been awarded by the European Commission’s ISF-P fund. For the first time, representatives of the four religious communities will be working together on a common project to enhance security.
The SASCE project, which will be fully funded by the European Commission, is divided into two main components:
1. The four partner organisations will develop content for Community Leaders, members and employees (basic security tools, security awareness, crisis management). Subsequently, it will create a network of ambassadors on the use of this content, and then disseminate it through trainings, briefings in and around communities, as well as wider communication campaigns across Europe.
The project also aims to build trust and cooperation between civil society and national authorities, facilitating formalised channels of communication between community leadership and public enforcement authorities.
2. SACC by EJC will equip communal buildings across Europe with 1.000 Emergency Tablets. This part of the project will be devoted solely to Jewish Communities.
We hope that this will be the beginning of a long-term process of inter-faith cooperation on security that will have very positive effects for our communities, in the EU member states and beyond.