The SOAR (Strengthening the security and resilience of at-risk religious sites and communities) project held a launch and networking event on the 7th of October, 2021, in Brussels. In attendance were various faith leaders, faith institution management, volunteers, law enforcement collaborators and EU representatives.

The SOAR project’s consortium partners- led by Enhancing Faith Institutions (EFI), Architects Council of Europe (ACE), Finn Church Aid (FCA) and the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers- collectively delivered multiple presentations, highlighting key objectives and resources, throughout the event. They were joined by representatives from the European Commission and the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC), who also delivered presentations at the event.

SOAR builds upon the European Commission’s 2020 strategy on increasing the protection of public places, including places of worship. The project promotes interfaith collaboration and caters support to advance community safety and security capabilities via trainings for all faith communities alike. The SOAR consortium supports local faith communities and places of worship across seven pilot countries in Europe including France, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Hungary, Netherlands, and Denmark.

Below are some key moments from the SOAR Brussels launch event:

The launch provided a platform for various faith leaders to meet and engage with each other.
Enhancing Faith Institutions (EFI), lead partners on the SOAR project, gave an opening speech.
The European Commission had a significant presence at the event.
The EU Commission presenting the EU’s Quick guide for the protection of places of worship.
Consortium partners, ACE, also delivered a presentation.
The Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers & FCA also shared valuable insights.
The event offered various faith groups the chance to ask questions and share their concerns.
Important interfaith discussions were held at the event.
Members of all faiths were present.
The SOAR team, including representatives from the EU and consortium partners.