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Protecting Places of Worship in Europe: a Review of Literature and Future Research Trends

In this first publication of the Protone Project, May Tamimova and Tahir Abbas researched the existing literature about violence and hatred against places of worship.

May Tamimova, Tahir Abbas
13 September 2023
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The document is an overview of the previously published works on the topic of protection of places of worship. Starting with the analysis of the efforts made by the EU and the UN to protect places of worship (PoWs) from various hazards, it discusses the recommended measures, including vulnerability assessments, public awareness campaigns, physical protection, and stakeholder cooperation. The literature review shows that gaps in PoW protection persist. The document identifies these gaps and suggests areas for future research, such as the effectiveness and acceptability of protective measures, the impacts of securitisation on religious adherents and communities, and multi-religious cooperation. It also explores the vulnerability factors of PoWs, the methods of attacks on them, and the enabling factors. Additionally, the report examines the importance and value PoWs hold in the communities. The report concludes by emphasising the importance of a multi-religious cooperation process to strengthen responses, increase dialogue, and reduce violent threats to society. It advocates for combining vulnerability assessment models and ethnographic research to understand the needs and perceptions regarding PoW protection. The report is a valuable resource for policymakers, religious leaders, and community members interested in promoting religious harmony, tolerance, and the security of PoWs. 


PROTONE has been proposed in the context of the growing need for greater guarantees of protection of public spaces, in particular places of worship, due to the increasing wave of terrorist attacks and intolerant acts on European soil. The consortium is composed of 8 organisations from Southern Europe (Italy and Spain), Western Europe (Belgium and the Netherlands) and Central Europe (Germany).

‚ÄčThe project is based on cooperation between different faith-based organisations from three Abrahamic religions, with the aim of overcoming the differences between their respective security cultures and improving their ability to address security threats through a coordinated response.

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