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Catalogue of 2021 Hostile Events Affecting Faith-Based Organizations

The FB-ISAO team monitors the threat landscape on a daily basis. As part of that process, the team captures incident data which is then reported on in the Faith-Based Daily Journal and the Faith-Based Daily Journal Highlights. Capturing open-source data speaks to the ‘provides information’ part of our mission which is to provide members with informationanalysis, and capabilities to help reduce risk while enhancing preparedness, security, and resilience.  We are an all-faiths and all-hazards information sharing organization.

The information we collect daily informs our analytical reports. In 2021, we published numerous reports on the fall-out from protest activity as those have affected some Faith-Based Organizations. In 2022, we have continued our reporting, especially in light of protests relating to the U.S. Supreme Court leaked document regarding Roe v. Wade and the subsequent U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Of late, and starting in 2021, the team has noticed a slight uptick in reports of hostile events at faith-based organizations. These hostile events came in the form of vandalism, arson, bomb threats and other incendiary incidents. The slight increase could be due to increases in open-source reporting on these types of incidents and may or may not be indicative of an increase in the totality of hostile events affecting Faith-Based Organizations. While these types of incidents occur routinely, we have seen many that seem to be specifically related to the recent Supreme Court ruling and abortion.

The team created a catalogue of hostile events affecting Faith-Based Organizations that have been captured through open-source data collection. The team initiated an analysis of the captured data, and on 25 August 2022, the team issued a TLP:GREEN report titled “FB-ISAO Reporting” which addressed 2021 Incident Data. The report was shared with a subset of our members (based on membership levels) and our Law Enforcement partners. It is also important to note that the data is not meant to be a complete listing of events, nor should it be interpreted as leading indicators of potential threats – it is only based on incidents that have been reported and captured during FB-ISAO collection efforts. The data should be used as a representative sample in addition to data from other agencies that track hate-based crimes based on religion.

While not scientific, FB-ISAO collected data does reinforce the following:

  • Attacks against FBOs occur across the United States and in parts of the world.
  • Attacks can encompass any number of threats. While hostile events represent the most dangerous threat, it is more likely that FBOs will experience lower-level events, like vandalism (or harassment), arson, and theft-related activities, rather than a violent attacker.

In analyzing the 2021 data, the team found:

  • 272 hostile events were identified.
  • Christian FBOs were more often targeted (205 incidents). Jewish Faith-Based Organizations followed (42 incidents) and Muslim Faith-Based organizations came in third (13 incidents).
  • California, New York, and Texas were the three states with the highest number of incidents.
  • September, October, and November saw the highest number of incidents.
  • There were at least 14 incidents per month.
  • Vandalism was by far the greatest type of event / incident reported while arson was second.

While the data is helpful in drawing a picture, it is not recommended that definitive judgements be used based solely on this data. However, the data could be used to help inform and capture the potential risks to the Faith-Based Community.

There are additional sources of data from other agencies that track hate-based crimes based on religion. These include:

  • FBI Hate Based Crime Statistics for 2019 reported on 1,521 incidents, 953 of which were directed against Jewish individuals.
  • Statista 2020 reported indicated there were approximately 1,000 incidents, 683 were directed against Jewish individuals, while 110 were against Muslims.

Preparedness as defined by The National Preparedness Goal describes five mission areas — prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery. Refer to the FB-ISAO Resource Pages for a robust list of preparedness resources to assist with preparedness initiatives.

Join FB-ISAO! If you are not a member of FB-ISAO, you should be!

Reduce the threat.

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