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Press Release

Forum provides best practices and resources to prevent and respond to hate crimes that target religious institutions

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio

CLEVELAND - In an effort to prevent hate crimes that target religious institutions, and to prepare faith-based leaders and congregation members with strategies for responding when faced with such security issues, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio, the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relation Services (“CRS”) Midwest Regional Office, and the Cleveland Field Office of the FBI is facilitating a free event, “Protecting Places of Worship,” held on Wednesday, May 29, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, 3290 E. 126th St., Cleveland, OH 44120. Registration is open to the public by calling the Public Affairs Officer of the United States Attorney’s Office at 216-622-3807.

“Protecting Places of Worship” is a half-day forum that will provide information about religion-focused hate crimes; how to best report such incidents; federal and state hate crimes laws; law enforcement threat assessments; ways to protect places of worship from potential hate crimes and other threats of violence; and other strategies for combatting hate and extremism. This program brings together federal and local law enforcement, federal and local prosecuting attorneys, civil rights organizations, and community organizations to discuss these issues. The forum’s goal is to share strategies and other information to help communities of faith effectively address and respond to bias incidents and hate crimes that affect their places of worship.

Discussion topics include:

  • Existing federal and state hate crime statutes, and increasing public awareness of hate crimes reporting procedures and prosecutions.
  • Analysis of hate crime data and trends, including recent examples of hate crimes targeting places of worship.
  • Strategies for responding to active-shooter incidents.
  • Best practices for assessing the physical security of places of worship and identifying potential security concerns, along with competitive grant opportunities and other strategies to address those concerns. 
  • Interfaith panel discussion to foster dialogue and collaboration among diverse religious communities, and to share strategies these organizations have used to address bias incidents.

All sessions will be followed by Q & A.

Featured speakers include those from the following organizations: U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio; FBI, Cleveland Field Office; Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office; Anti-Defamation League Cleveland; U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency; and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Panelists include leaders from Cleveland’s Islamic, Sikh, and Hindu communities, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, and the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. The Mount Pleasant Ministerial Alliance is hosting this event.

This event is part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s United Against Hate initiative. For questions or more details about the event, contact Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Feran at 216-622-3709 or

About CRS
Established by Title X of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, CRS’ expanded its services under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. As a component of the United States Department of Justice, CRS serves as “America’s Peacemaker,” offering support to communities experiencing tension or conflict due to differences of race, color, natural origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and disability. Through its services, CRS enhances the ability of community members to independently and collaboratively prevent and resolve future conflicts by fostering knowledge, understanding and communication.

CRS Programs
The primary objectives of all CRS programs are to assist parties in conflict by fostering understanding of various perspectives, facilitating the exchange of information regarding resources and best practices, and aiding communities as they identify and implement solutions. CRS conciliation specialists maintain impartiality and refrain from taking sides among disputing parties. Instead, they facilitate the process, empowering those involved to develop their own mutually agreeable solutions.


Jessica Salas Novak
(216) 622-3921

Updated May 7, 2024

Hate Crimes