Participatory approaches to protecting places palces of worship

PARTES proposes a comprehensive model for the protection of places of worship that is evidence-based, inclusive and participatory. In order to effectively combat the security threats posed to PoW, it is essential to understand the underlying violent extremist phenomenon and its concrete manifestations in relation to these targets; involve faith-based communities in policies and measures; and educate the broader population with regard to toxic extremist rhetoric but also the features and manifestations of various faiths. The methodology employed in the project is multi-disciplinary and participatory in nature, involving both researchers and endusers, within and beyond the consortium partners, and including citizens.

The recent trend of attacks and hate crimes targeting places of worship (PoW) in Europe and world-wide is concerning. The threat landscape of PoW has become even more complex with the increasing number of online hate crimes and cyber-attacks, sometimes combined with offline campaigns. These attacks are only the symptom of a broader violent extremist phenomenon on the rise in Europe, fuelled by toxic extremist rhetoric, lack of knowledge about other religions and cultures, and insufficient involvement of mainstream society in extremism prevention. Although authorities provide some protection and security support, existing measures must be strengthened and improved. The phenomenon must be addressed in a more complex way that goes beyond architectural security and police presence.

PARTES aims to achieve the following objectives:

    • Map the specific threat landscape of involved religious communities (incl. cyber threats);

    • Assess and derive lessons learned on vulnerabilities and existing security concepts of involved religious communities and exchange best practices on protective measures Europe-wide;

    • Establish cooperation and communication structures and channels between religious communities and local authorities;

    • Develop proactive and preventive security measures;

    • Carry out trainings and workshops with religious and local authorities;

    • Raise awareness among the wider population about the threat and strategies of extremist organisations targeting places of worship and involve them in prevention strategies

The project will make a significant contribution to the improvement of the overall protection of public spaces through the creation and enhancement of PoW’s preventive and security concepts by taking the threat landscape, the online dimension and pre-attack, preventive phases and measures
into account, as well as by the newly established communication structures with authorities.

PARTES shall

  • improve cooperation between all relevant stakeholders
  • through the creation of cooperation and communication structures and channels between religious communities and local authorities
  • develop trainings and guidance materials through state-of-the-art training methods involving online and offline approaches, and organise awareness raising campaigns
  • help to better assess of security threats through
    state-of-the-art analysis and data-driven threat landscape analysis
  • help to better plan protective measures and enhance physical protection through the development of proactive and preventive security measures
Donor information:
European Commission
Directorate General Migration and Home Affairs
Lead partner:
Austrian Institute for international Affairs

ACT-BS contact person

Luisa Ravagnani –