Vice President Mike Pence, Congressman John Joyce (R-PA) and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Assistant Director Brian Harrell joined several faith-based community leaders for a Faith-Based Safety and Security Symposium at the White House.
The event focused on the importance of securing faith-based communities from all types of violence and exchanging best practices leveraged by faith-based groups regarding information sharing, preparedness, response and recovery.
“The need to preserve the right to peacefully congregate and practice a religion of choice is integral in the Constitution, and an attack against such facilities is a direct threat to American democracy,” said Assistant Director Harrell.
Recognizing the increase in violent attacks, both domestic and international, against various faith-based groups, the Department has boosted its efforts to detect, prevent, protect against and mitigate threats of targeted violence.
“We must address and prevent the mass attacks that have too frequently struck our houses of worship, our schools, our workplaces, our festivals, and our shopping spaces. Today is National Awareness Day for the ‘If you See Something, Say Something’ campaign that works with partners year-round to inspire, empower and educate the public and members of the faith-based communities on the importance of reporting suspicious activities. Partnership and collaboration are essential to building secure and resilient communities,” said Assistant Director Harrell.
The symposium brought together approximately 180 people representing the faith-based communities, Federal Government, associations, and state/local governments. It also provided a forum through which security practitioners and others responsible for maintaining the safety of congregants can exchange best practices and gain a greater understanding of the resources the federal government has available to identify and address potential security gaps.