North Texas

North Texas Mosques Increase Security, Add Officers

Mosques in North Texas are strengthening their security during the final week of Ramadan when attendance soars into the thousands.

At the East Plano Islamic Center, mosque leaders said they worked with Plano police to come up with a comprehensive security plan.

Obvious security measures include numerous cameras mounted on the building and bright red barriers surrounding the mosque.

They have also hired off-duty police officers to be present later in the evenings, when most people congregate for prayer during Ramadan. Security guards are present 24 hours a day.

"We've taken as many precautions as we can to make sure that we're safe, that our congregation is safe," said Junaid Din, president of the East Plano Islamic Center. "Just because in today's time, we don't know what could happen."

It is a far cry from the mosque Din grew up going to himself, in what he recalls as simpler times.

"I never saw, growing up, police outside the mosque, or security," Din said. "There was never a question of, 'OK, am I safe here?' It was just another place to go."

On a typical night, Din estimates nearly 100 people gather at EPIC.

During a night in Ramadan, close to 3,000 people gather to pray together and socialize, starting at about 8:30 p.m. and lasting into the early hours of the morning.

"There are women, children, men, people of all ages. There is so much energy," Din said.

Ramadan is the Muslim holy month many observe by fasting, now in its final week.

Din said they were also inspired to increase security following the murder of a 17-year-old girl named Nabra Hassanen in Virginia, as well as other attacks at mosques across the country and globe.

Increased security and additional officers are also present at mosques in Richardson and several others in Collin County.

Police in Plano, Richardson and Fort Worth said there have been no major incidents reported at any mosques.

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