Increasing attacks on religious institutions and communities across Europe have prompted a focus on the vulnerability of places of worship, and the need for focused support and training, which the SOAR project provides. The national briefing event took place in Brussels, Belgium on the 15th of March 2023.

This national event consisted of presentations and networking opportunities, bringing together faith communities, faith leaders, architects, law enforcement and public officials. The national briefing provided insight into the work of SOAR in Belgium, sharing the impact and outcomes of our training & engagements in the country over the past two years. The event also allowed attendees to share thoughts and insights that were recorded and shared with public figures and the European commission.

The SOAR project has delivered a variety of training and engagements in Belgium, and this event will showcase the importance and impact of our work in protecting at-risk communities and places of worship. The SOAR project is a European Commission (EU) funded project that stands for ‘Strengthening the security and resilience of at-risk religious sites and communities’ programme. The programme is looking to advance the protection and safeguarding of places of worship in 7 countries across the EU (France, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Hungary, Netherlands, and Denmark) by providing free Safety and Security Training for leaders, managers, and caretakers of Places of Worship (including Churches, Mosques, Temples, Gurdwaras, Synagogues, and more).

SOAR builds upon the European Commission’s 2020 strategy on increasing the protection of public places, including places of worship. The SOAR project’s consortium partners are led by Enhancing Faith Institutions (EFI), and include the Architects Council of Europe (ACE)Finn Church Aid (FCA), supported by the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC). The network of the partnership is extensive and includes representatives from all majority and minority faiths practicing within the EU.