In August 2012, a mosque in Joplin, Missouri, was destroyed by an arsonist who was arrested 14 months later. (AP Photo/The Joplin Globe, Roger Nomer)
Since 2009, CRS has worked with communities to prevent and resolve conflicts based on the actual or perceived religion of community members. By improving communication between religious leaders, universities and schools, elected officials, law enforcement, and community members, CRS supports communities in developing relationships and mechanisms to effectively prevent and respond to conflicts based on religion. CRS assists communities experiencing tension and conflict based on religion by:
- Providing cultural competency trainings to law enforcement, government officials, service providers, and community members on the cultural norms and customs of various religions in order to increase understanding of different faiths and to prevent misunderstandings or perceived rude conduct;
- Facilitating dialogues between law enforcement and religious community members in the aftermath of violent hate crimes or acts of vandalism based on religion in order to improve police-community relations, ensure the safety of congregations, and inform community members of available resources; and
- Conducting programs and leading dialogues with school officials, teachers, and students to prevent bullying based on religion both inside and outside of educational institutions.
Below are examples of how CRS has helped communities experiencing tension and conflict based on religion. Further summaries can be located in the Agency's Annual Report, which are located on the CRS Resource Center webpage.