PARTES project (Participatory approaches to protecting places of worship) proposes a comprehensive model for the protection of places of worship (PoW) that is evidence-based, inclusive and participatory, in order to effectively combat the security threats posed to synagogues, mosques and churches in the European Union, thus also preventing hate crimes against religious communities.
The Euro-Arab Foundation is part of the consortium and leads the “Threats and Responses Landscape” work package, which coordinates research to establish an overview of attacks on religious communities, hate crimes against them and existing protection measures, as well as to identify good practices for cooperation between religious institutions and public authorities, and for the protection of places of worship.
PARTES aims to achieve the following objectives:
- Map the specific threat landscape of involved religious communities (incl. cyber threats);
- Assess and derive lessons learned on vulnerabilities and existing security concepts of involved religious communities and exchange best practices on protective measures Europe-wide;
- Establish cooperation and communication structures and channels between religious communities and local authorities;
- Develop proactive and preventive security measures;
- Carry out trainings and workshops with religious and local authorities;
- Raise awareness among the wider population about the threat and strategies of extremist organisations targeting places of worship and involve them in prevention strategies.
The methodology employed in the project is multi-disciplinary and participatory in nature, involving researchers and end-users within and beyond the consortium, and also citizens. PARTES employs a variety of methods, from desk research and interviews to live labs, workshops and dialogue forums.
The project seeks to make a significant contribution to the improvement of the overall protection of public spaces through the creation and enhancement of PoW’s preventive and security concepts by taking the threat landscape, the online dimension and pre-attack, preventive phases and measures into account, as well as by the newly established communication structures with authorities.
The motivation for this project lies in the recent trend of attacks and hate crimes, both in the digital and physical world, targeting places of worship in Europe and around the world. These attacks are symptomatic of a growing violent extremist phenomenon in Europe, fuelled by extremist rhetoric, ignorance of other religions and cultures, and insufficient societal engagement in preventing extremism.The project considers that this phenomenon needs to be addressed in a more complex way, going beyond architectural security and police presence.
PARTES is funded by the Internal Security Fund of the European Commission. The consortium involves experts of 15 institutions from 10 European countries, where the project coordinator is the Austrian Institute of International Affairs (oiip).
More information about the project on the official website: www.partes-project.eu