Islamic Center of Murfreesboro steps up security after NZ attacks

Local News

Saleh Sbenaty cried when he heard about the mass shooting in New Zealand Friday.  

“This is a crime against humanity,” said Sbenaty, a member of the board of trustees for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.  

It’s a crime that’s left him and other members of the Islamic center on edge. 

“We certainly are nervous, afraid for our own safety,” he said.  

Even with security cameras inside and outside the building, Sbenaty says it’s not enough. 

The center is now reaching out to law enforcement to develop a security plan to learn active shooter training and how to form a security team.  

“Safety is our first priority,” Sbenaty said.  

Rutherford County law enforcement is offering the training for free to help protect places of worship. 

“We want our community to be safe whether it’s at a house of worship or whether it’s at a shopping mall,” said Darrell Logwood, group supervisor for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.  

Sbenaty says the center has received bomb threats in the past. In 2017, vandals spray painted the outside and left strips of bacon on the doors. 

“Nowadays, there is no house of worship that is safe,” Sbenaty said.  

Since the New Zealand shooting, the center has already made changes. From now on, the doors to three of their five entrances will stay locked at all times. 

Sbenaty says they also plan to have volunteers monitor the center during prayer. He says they’re also considering allowing members to carry guns. 

“We’ll take every precautious measure possible to ensure our safety,” Sbenaty said. 

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