- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 28, 2007

Synagogues and mosques that are potential terrorist targets will be eligible to receive grants from the Department of Homeland Security as part of a $24 million program to upgrade building security.

The grants are part of the Urban Area Security Initiative, which provides funding to 46 select cities. The expansion to include nonprofit groups is aimed primarily at protecting certain faith-based facilities, said one Homeland Security official familiar with the grant process.

“It is expected these funds will continue to increase security for certain faith-based facilities that have demonstrated a degree of risk in the past,” the official said on the condition of anonymity.

The money could be used for such items as security cameras, access control, vehicular barriers, alarm systems, bulletproof doors or windows or screening systems.

According to the criteria announced Friday, groups must have received “substantiated threats or attacks toward the nonprofit or closely related organization, either within or outside the U.S., by a terrorist organization.”

National or historical institutions or sites with symbolic value also will be eligible for the grants.

“The federal grant funds must be used for target-hardening activities, which can be accomplished through training or the purchase or installation of security equipment on real property owned or leased by the nonprofit organization,” according to the department’s announcement.

The grants also will be awarded to organizations that respond to terrorist attacks, such as the Red Cross or Salvation Army. However, the official indicated that activist groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations would not be the intended beneficiaries.

Grant applications must be submitted by June 22, and individual awards will not exceed $100,000.

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