This week ISIS issued a “hit list” for churches in the United States. The direction was issued via numerous pro-ISIS websites and called for members to “continue aspirational calls for attacks on holiday gatherings, including targeting churches.” Although the list could contain more than a thousand churches spread across all 50 states the FBI refuses to release the churches identified on the list so as not to cause “overreaction or panic.”
A couple of thoughts race through my mind as a current mega church Security Director who has also been a Special Agent with the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security until my retirement in January 2015. The first thought is that ISIS has now added places of worship to their “top tier” targeting list for a number of reasons.
The first reason is that ISIS hates the Christian religion and sees attacks against churches as a central attack on the heartbeat of the United States and the values we maintain. The second reason is that ISIS is masterful at utilizing all technical avenues available to communicate in clear terms that the fight IS coming to the U.S. Terrorism is all about using violence to affect political change and this organization understands the power of the internet to cause fear and intimidation while calling out “lone wolfs” to act. The bottom line is the recent developments should cause faith based organizations to wake up and prepare a professional security plan!
If you are responsible for security at a faith based organization I would strongly encourage you to ask yourself “is my organization prepared for the changing world around me?” If your answer is NO and you are not prepared DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Although a terrorist attack is very unlikely at your facility a criminal act, domestic violence incident, medical emergency, or weather emergency is not. Begin today to prepare for the above by working on a series of professional security steps, your actions now to prepare may save LOTS of lives in the days ahead! Call us for a non-obligatory professional security assessment on how we can help you with what to do! Stay safe!