House passes bill to bolster security at synagogues, churches, mosques

House passes bill to bolster security at synagogues, churches, mosques

The House on Monday passed a bill aimed at bolstering security at synagogues, churches, mosques and other nonprofit organizations in the wake of recent attacks on houses of worship in the U.S. and abroad. 

The bipartisan "Securing American Nonprofit Organizations Against Terrorism Act of 2019," which had 86 Democratic and 18 Republican co-sponsors, would create a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grant program to help the organizations fund security equipment, personnel and training to prevent terrorist attacks.

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“In just the first six months of 2019, the level of bloodshed in places of worship has shocked the world. It’s painfully clear that these houses of worship are under threat of violence committed by terrorists of all extreme ideologies,” House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonHillicon Valley: House panel subpoenas 8chan owner | FCC takes step forward on T-Mobile-Sprint merger | Warren wants probe into FTC over Equifax settlement | Groups make new push to end surveillance program House Homeland Security Committee subpoenas 8chan owner What Mississippi ICE raids mean for vulnerable workers MORE (D-Miss.), who introduced the bill, said in a statement Monday. 

“Synagogues, mosques, and churches need our help and protection just to stay safe. Nobody should feel threatened while praying," he added.

Some senators on both sides of the aisle have also expressed interested in passing legislation to boost security resources at religious and cultural institutions and nonprofits. 

The legislation follows a series of mass killings in places of worship. Earlier this year, one woman was killed and three others were injured at a shooting in a California synagogue. Hundreds were killed in Easter church bombings in Sri Lanka and a pair of mosque shootings in New Zealand left 50 people dead.