Maryland religious and nonprofit community organizations will receive $10,691,398 to enhance security measures. 

The federal funding is provided through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP). The program provides support for physical security enhancements and training to religious nonprofit organizations in response to the rise in religiously motivated attacks on faith communities across the country.

“Religious liberty is a fundamental freedom protected by our Constitution, but the concerning rise of hate-fueled attacks against religious communities threatens that liberty both here in Maryland and across the country,” said the lawmakers.

In the U.S., The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) hate crime statistics show that incidents in churches, synagogues, temples and mosques increased by 34.8% between 2014 and 2018. 

In 2020, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reported that anti-Semitic incidents remained historically high across the U.S., with a total of 2,024 incidents of assault, harassment and vandalism. 

In 2021, ADL tabulated 2,717 anti-Semitic incidents throughout the United States. This is a 34% increase from the 2,026 incidents tabulated in 2020 and the highest number since ADL began tracking anti-Semitic incidents in 1979. 

Of the 2,717 incidents recorded in 2021, 1,776 were cases of harassment, a 43% increase from 1,242 in 2020, and 853 incidents were cases of vandalism, a 14% increase from 751 in 2020. The 88 incidents of anti-Semitic assault (a 167% increase from 33 in 2020), involved 131 victims; none of the assaults were deadly.

In 2021, no assaults perpetrated against the Jewish community resulted in mass casualties. The ADL reported that the vast majority of the physical assaults against Jewish individuals (77 of 88) were perpetrated without the use of a deadly weapon. And, the ADL recorded 484 anti-Semitic incidents attributed to known right-wing extremist groups or individuals inspired by right-wing extremist ideology, which represents 18% of the total number of incidents.

White supremacist groups, for example, were responsible for 422 anti-Semitic propaganda distributions, a 52% increase from 277 in 2020. Other extremist activity included incidents instigated by the Goyim Defense League, a loose network of individuals connected by their virulent antisemitism.

“We fought for these investments so our faith-based organizations can ensure the protection and security of their members. Team Maryland will continue working with our faith organizations to secure more resources so all Marylanders can be free to worship as they choose without fear,” the lawmakers said.