The SOAR Project organized an online Baseline Research Dissemination event on the 27th of May, 2022. The purpose of this event was to discuss the findings of the Participatory Baseline study on the security challenges faced by religious sites and investigate policies advancing the security and safety of places of worship in the seven pilot countries of the SOAR project (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Hungary and Austria).

In the invited presentation, Dr Umar Al-Qadri, Chair of Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council (IMPIC), discussed the theme of security challenges affecting Muslim communities in the context of internal security trends in Europe. Dr Al-Qadri put forward the idea that the security of faith communities can best be improved by shaping national identity and citizenship in a more inclusive way, thus enabling diverse religious identities to fit in to the concept of “us”. He encouraged religious associations to communicate more openly to the broader society their efforts and desire to be active participants in the social fabric of their local communities.

In his research presentation, author Dr. Marko Juntunen of The Network for Religious & Traditional Peacemakers, emphasized the complexity of today’s hate crimes. He states that “while it is clear that many of the most violent hate crimes are committed by radicalized individuals motivated by violent extremist ideologies or hate-fuelled individuals who uphold highly bigoted views, very often, the offenders are ordinary citizens driven by a variety of bias motivations towards certain population groups. What further complicates the picture is that Increasing numbers of perpetrators of hate crime can be characterized as having ‘mixed, unclear or unstable’ ideology. They merge elements from extreme right-wing content and misogynist subcultures. As these subcultures are today located nowhere in particular and constructed largely in online landscapes, it is nearly impossible to predict with any accuracy where, when and against whom the next incident of serious hate crime will be perpetrated”.

To read the full Research report, please visit: //soarproject.eu/resources/