Conference convened to connect faith communities with security experts in wake of violence

Ohio Statehouse News

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – Do you remember as a kid going to church, or to synagogue, or to the mosque and noticing armed security?​

The answer for some of you will be yes, for others it will be no; and as the years pass fewer and fewer people will be in that former group.​

With attacks on houses of worship in recent years, more and more of these communities are taking steps, including armed security, to protect their congregations.​

For some of us, understanding why this is happening or could happen is difficult; but Ohio Governor Mike DeWine spells it out pretty clearly.​

“There are people who live among us that for whatever reason hate other people; and they hate certain religions,” said DeWine.​

That concerns the governor, other state and federal leaders, faith-based community leaders, and many in the general public.​

That concern of violence being perpetrated against us has driven society to make changes to solve the problem. ​

“Every center has had to obviously step up patrols, stepped up armed security on premises which is something a little bit new for our mosques, I know that’s something that has been in place a lot in our synagogues here locally,” said Nicol Ghazi the director of Muslim Family Services of Ohio​

“We’re never going back to pre-September 11th at the airport;  we’re never going back to pre-Columbine in our schools;  and we’re on this posture now forever,” said Howie Beigelman, the executive director of Ohio Jewish Communities.​

To help pay for these solutions, and to make sure the best solutions are being used, one of Ohio’s U.S. Senators, Rob Portman, convened a conference for faith-based community leaders to hear from security experts.​

They also learned about federal and state programs and grants that could help them pay for some of the protections they are using to keep their congregations safe.​

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