Religious sites are considered to be especially vulnerable to attacks due to their accessibility and the fact that there are usually limited security measures applied. In recent years, religious sites of different faiths were targeted by extremists. The feedback collected from religious institutions and authorities suggests that there is a growing concern about the security and a balance should be kept between security and preservation of the open nature of religious sites. Thus, the project is aimed at increasing the level of protection in places of worship by forming an outstanding cooperation of scientists, security experts and practitioners, public services and religious institutions (representing Catholic Church, Greek Orthodox Church and Jewish Community) towards preparing a comprehensive protection system.
The system will cover measures for increasing prevention, protection, deterring and responding to various types of terrorist threats and incidents that may occur in religious places, including attacks with CBRN agents. The measures will be comprised of a set of tailormade templates, tools, procedures, equipment, improvements in infrastructure according to “security in design” and protocols of cooperation with public services. The implementation of the system will be enhanced by preparing and initiating modular training including eLearning with VR, applicable in various types of education in religious structures; conducting large-scale exercises; and conducting EU-wide awareness-raising campaign aiming at faith-based leaders, worshipers and public in general.
The significant impact of the project at a European level appears achievable due to the fact of consulting the project idea with influential religious organizations and involving them in the consortium as well as receiving very positive feedback from international religious structures, that confirmed the relevance of the project and willingness to support the introduction of the system in all EU MS.