Take Steps to Prevent and Report Arson this Ramadan Season

As Ramadan approaches, the Muslim community has seen an upsurge in acts of vandalism and arson across the country. Muslim Advocates urges mosques nationwide to take preventative measures against arson in their communities and to be aware of how to report suspected arson. This week has been designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as Arson Awareness Week as a time for communities nationwide to prevent arson.

Mosque Burnings are Increasing Nationwide

In just 2017, there have been five arsons or suspected arsons at American mosques. Muslim Advocates believes that heated political rhetoric and anti-Muslim policies have emboldened potential vandals. Anecdotal evidence from previous years suggests that the Ramadan may see increased vandalism against mosques in 2017 as well.

You Have the Right to Worship and Be Protected by Police and Fire Departments

The United States Constitution is clear that the right to worship applies to all faiths. American Muslims hold this freedom dearly and we should not let intimidation get in the way of exercising that right. This Ramadan, it’s vitally important to worship as you see fit.

Protect Your Mosque

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, houses of worship should address physical security factors like:

External security
  • Illuminate exterior and entrances – Arsonists, like burglars, fear light.
  • Clear things like shrubbery that block the view of the building.
  • Clean up – Remove anything that could fuel a fire for an arsonist.
Internal security
  • Install smoke alarms and a fire sprinkler system.
  • Keep doors and windows locked.
  • Clean up – Remove anything that could fuel a fire for an arsonist.

Build Intentional Community Relationships

In addition to considering the steps recommended by the U.S. Fire Administration, mosques should take special care to:

  • Build a proactive relationships with the local police force.
  • Invite their local fire department to tour their facility and make specific recommendations.
  • Build trust with neighbors.

Report Mosque Burning

It’s critical that all potential arson incidents get reported to local law enforcement officials immediately, and we encourage you to also report these incidents to Muslim Advocates. Muslim Advocates is a partner in the Communities Against Hate initiative to track and respond to hate vandalism and violence against our community. Click here to report through our secure online form.