Brooklyn pols advocate for security at houses of worship

Brooklyn pols advocate for security at houses of worship
Councilman Chaim Deutsch’s Office

The city must station armed guards at places of worship, local pols demanded on the steps of City Hall on Tuesday.

Demonstrators took to the infamous set of stairs on May 7 to advocate for a piece of legislation that would provide funding for security personnel at religious buildings, which is necessary in the wake of recent attacks around the world, according to one Southern Brooklyn councilman.

“New Yorkers of faith deserve to be safe as they worship — it’s as simple as that,” said Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay). “Houses of worship need a layer of protection to keep congregants safe, such as an armed guard.”

Deutsch and fellow Councilman Kalman Yeger (D–Midwood) are hoping to put a bill on the mayor’s desk next week that will aim to station armed guards at churches, synagogues, and mosques around the city.

“Our bill will allow any house of worship to hire a private security guard, submit for reimbursement, and have the city pay the bill,” said Yeger. “This is our city and our money, and safety in our houses of worship is our most fundamental right.”

The push to commission armed guards comes on the heels of recent violent attacks at a mosque in New Zealand, churches in Sri Lanka, and synagogues in Pittsburgh.

Last month, a man attempted to set fire to St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue.

Deutsch accused pols who opposed the bill of inaction with deadly consequences.

“Every time an attack occurs in a house of worship we tend to send out a tweet condemning those actions and sending our condolences,” he said. “Now we need to take proactive measures and not be reactive. Let’s not send out those condolences. We have to face reality here in New York City and it’s time that this administration funds security for all our houses of worship.”

Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo (D–Clinton Hill), along with Councilmen Mathieu Eugene (D–Flatbush) and Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island) joined Tuesday’s demonstration at City Hall with more than 20 religious leaders from around the city.

“It’s a proud moment when we can come together as leaders and advocate for better protections at our houses of worship,” said Cumbo.

Treyger used the rally to push for unarmed security officers at city schools.

“I’m also outraged that there is no money in the executive budget for security guards at private schools, including religious private schools, which frequently face threats of violence,” he said.

The legislators hope their bill will pass, and be signed by Hizzoner next week.

“We have to know we will be protected in our houses of worship, in our sanctuaries of peace,” said Yeger.

Reach reporter Aidan Graham at agraham@schnepsmedia.com or by calling (718) 260–4577. Follow him at twitter.com/aidangraham95.