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Thursday, March 4th, 2021

DHS to form security subcommittee for religious institutions

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Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kevin McAleenan recently announced DHS has created a Homeland Security Advisory Council subcommittee to focus on threats faced by religious institutions and places of worship.

The subcommittee will be comprised of academics, emergency and first responders, the private sector, policymakers, and members of state, local, and tribal governments. The goal of the subcommittee will be to create policy recommendations and provide advice.

The subcommittee’s creation is supported by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee.

“The ability to worship freely and without fear of prosecution is a bedrock American principle,” Rogers said. “Unfortunately, attacks on churches, synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship have become far too common. I applaud Acting Secretary McAleenan for creating an initiative focused on how DHS can work with religious institutions to protect against acts of violence. We must continue this progress against international and domestic terrorists fueled by hateful ideology.”

Last month, Rogers sent a letter to McAleenan urging him to form the subcommittee.

DHS has numerous programs and outreach efforts for information-sharing, training, and security for religious institutions, Rogers said in his letter, but the subcommittee would assess current and emerging threats and the effectiveness of DHS programs.