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Faith-Based Daily Awareness Post

Faith-Based Daily Awareness Post 12 February 2024

Faith-Based Security Headlines

These updates are shared to help raise the situational awareness of Faith-Based organizations to best defend against and mitigate the impacts from all-hazards threats including physical security, cybersecurity, and natural disasters.

Shooting at Lakewood Church in Texas

As was sent to members in an alert earlier today, at approximately 2:00pm CT on Sunday 11 February, police confirmed that a woman entered the Lakewood Church, Joel Osteen’s megachurch about 6 miles from downtown Houston and began firing. The shooter died at the scene, while a child is in critical condition and another man has been injured.

Police have not shared details about a possible motive in the shooting or said what the woman’s relationship is to the child who accompanied her. The injured man was shot in the leg and sought treatment at a hospital, Finner said.

Analyst Comments:

The shooter used an AR-15 that had “Free Palestine” written on it, according to a federal law enforcement source. Investigators are trying to determine whether she was politically motivated or a disturbed individual, the source said. The shooter also threatened that she had a bomb, but authorities searched her vehicle and backpack and found no explosives, the Houston police chief said.

Members are sharing information related to the incident on FB-ISAO Slack in the #pir_01-fbo_imminent_violence_threat and the #og_us_terrrorism channels. As more details emerge, the FB-ISAO team will likely issue an advisory on the incident this week.

As with all hostile events, the possibility of copycat attacks is always a concern. The community is encouraged to review their plans and procedures. Below are relevant resources:

Webinar: Spring Safety and Security Religious Holiday Briefing

Please join FEMA’s Voluntary Agency Coordination Section and the DHS Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships for the February VOISE call. The topic of the call is a spring safety and security religious holiday briefing that will provide attendees information, points of contact and considerations to prepare their facilities for upcoming religious observances and other public gatherings.

Analyst Comments:

The call is being held on February 21, from 2:00-3:30pm ET. Click here to register for the event.

How the Israel-Hamas War Fuels Extremism in the U.S. and Beyond

In this article, Law Fare reviews how the rise in anti-Jewish and anti-Arab/Muslim incidents since Oct. 7 has provided fertile ground for the spread of extremism domestically. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco updated the public on Dec. 24, 2023, that the Justice Department received over 1,800 hate crime-related reports since Oct. 7 and that the threat of extremism today has shifted considerably compared to the nature of extremism since the 9/11 attacks. 

Analyst Comments:

According to the authors, “Scholars of political violence argue that polarization is a favorable condition for increased mass mobilization despite not being the sole factor leading radicalized individuals to act based on their beliefs. The spillover effect in the United States is already visible through violent acts by radicalized individuals as well as patterns of increased mass mobilization. What we are now witnessing might be a prototype of future patterns of extremism manifesting based on opportunities offered by the sociopolitical environment rather than being expressions of plotted or planned activism. This is now the backdrop heading into an already-charged 2024 presidential election year. Judging by the rhetoric of candidates, the 2024 presidential election promises to carry the same tensions as the previous two election cycles. This adds to the tensions and unpredictability of confrontations between protesters and counter protesters regardless of political platform.” 

More Security-focused Content

Read a report detailing attacks on Faith-Based organizations following the Dobbs ruling.
Read the October 2023 Threat Level Statement Update
Access all-hazards resources from public and private sector partners, curated by the FB-ISAO team.

The FB-ISAO’s sponsor Gate 15 publishes a free daily newsletter called the SUN. Curated from their open source intelligence collection process, the SUN informs leaders and analysts with the critical news of the day and provides a holistic look at the current global, all-hazards threat environment. Ahead of the daily news cycle, the SUN allows current situational awareness into the topics that will impact your organization. To sign-up for The SUN, please sign up below.

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