Sunday 8/1/21
VANDALISM

Finland urges religious minorities to adopt security plan for facilities

A report from the Ministry of the Interior explains that the premises of Islamic communities are subject to a lot of vandalism, which increases the feeling of insecurity among the users
12 April 2021, Egypt, Cairo: Muslims perform the first 'Tarawih' evening prayers of the holy fasting month of Ramadan At Al-Azhar Mosque. Muslims around the world celebrate the holy month of Ramadan, the ninth and holiest month of the Islamic calendar, in which believers refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and having sex from dawn to dusk. Photo: Sayed Hassan/dpa
Muslims performing the first 'Tarawih' evening prayers of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. Photo: Sayed Hassan/dpa.

The security of the worship facilities of the various religious minorities in Finland is in question. According to a report published in May by the Ministry of the Interior, fear and the feeling of insecurity is increasing worldwide in the wake of the latest terrorist attacks.

Vandalism, the presence of troublemakers and other disturbing behaviour is usual for example around Islamic and Jewish premises.

Now, a new report compiled by a working group appointed by the government includes recommendations for improving the safety and security of the premises of religious communities.

According to a statement from the Ministry of the Interior, the report recommends that religious communities systematically improve the security of premises. To this end, the working group has drawn up a model safety and security plan.

On 20 July 2020, the Ministry of the Interior set up a working group to identify security threats and to draw proposals for improving the safety and security of the the religious premises.

"The reason for setting up the working group was the need to improve the safety and security of religious premises due to the recent terrorist attacks against these premises," says the Ministry of the Interior.

The report of the working group explains that "the premises of Islamic communities are subject to a lot of vandalism, which increases the feeling of insecurity among the users of the premises. Security measures for these premises should be developed, and training is also needed."

The security of Jewish communities has been improved, but "the threat to the premises has increased."

The Evangelical Lutheran Church has taken proper security measures, but the threats associated with its premises and users have also increased.

Online hate speech

"The spreading of hate speech online affects how safe users feel the premises are," says the government report.

The report now published contains recommendations for developing the safety and security of the premises of religious communities, improving the monitoring of the security situation, and enhancing the training and expertise in safety and security matters.

One of the most important recommendations is to introduce in the safety and security work the model safety and security plan that is attached to the report

“It would be important for religious communities to have a safety and security plan in future, which covers, for example security-related measures and those responsible for safety and security matters. The plan also needs to be regularly updated. Our working group has drawn up a complete model for a safety and security plan to facilitate and support the safety and security work of religious communities,” says Tarja Mankkinen, Head of Development from the Ministry of the Interior.

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