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


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — 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.​

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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