Religious leaders met with Senator Maggie Hassan, an FBI agent, and state officials Tuesday to discuss efforts to protect places of worship from terrorist attacks.
This event comes after seven New Hampshire synagogues and churches were awarded federal grants earlier this month to bolster their security against domestic and foreign terrorists.
Many organizations have begun introducing security measures into their buildings due to mass shootings worldwide and hate speech within the state. Leaders at the event mentioned they’ve begun locking their doors during services, conducting lockdown drills for students or hiring private security.
Sheraz Rashid is a Board Member for the Islamic Society of New Hampshire. His organization, among others, was not aware of the grant until recently. He says today’s event brought clarity and he hopes for better communication with government officials in the future.
“One of the things that is on everyone’s mind is ‘are we next?’” said Rashid. “The next question after that is ‘well, if we are next, what is being done’? We’re just sitting here waiting and nobody is really communicating with us. That’s the general sentiment from where our community sits.”
Beth Davidson is a Rabbi at Temple Adath Yeshurun of Manchester, where the event was held. She says locking the doors during her service is a necessary safety precaution, but it comes at a cost.
“When you have to lock your doors and when you have to wonder ‘do you know this person’ that puts a very different slant on being able to be open and receptive to our friends and to our neighbors,” said Davidson.