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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – An Arkansas program created to enhance security in houses of worship awarded funds to several faith groups in the state on Tuesday.
Officials with the Department of Public Safety said its Right to Worship Safely Grant Program awarded $227,792 among six congregations, four of which are in Little Rock. The money is earmarked to enhance physical security and security activity projects to prepare and respond to terror threats and other extremist attacks, DPS officials said.
The awardees announced Tuesday are four Jewish organizations and two Christian organizations:
Congregation Agudath Achim, Little Rock, received a $43,200 grant.
Congregation B’nai Israel, Little Rock, received a $74,449 grant.
Congregation House of Israel, Little Rock, received a $11,273 grant.
Lubavitch of Arkansas, Little Rock, received a $60,000 grant.
St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Hot Springs, received a $8,065 grant.
Subiaco Abbey, Subiaco, received a $30,805 grant.
Officials said 31 entities applied for grants. To be eligible for a grant, an organization had to be a not-for-profit organization that had received an active terrorist threat in the past 12 months with an established risk.
The Arkansas State Police verified the reported threats.
Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the grant was established to support religious communities.
“The right to worship freely is our most fundamental right,” Sanders said. “With threats against religious communities rising across the country, we created the Right to Worship grant program for faith groups in need of protection.”
Applications for Right to Worship grants are currently closed. Additional information on the program may be found at DPS.Arkansas.gov.