CST trained more than 80 Hindu priests after two temples broken into
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CST trained more than 80 Hindu priests after two temples broken into

Jewish security officials run training sessions across the country which they say 'opened the floodgates' for more communities asking for assistance

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir London is the largest Hindu temple of England, in Neasden. (Credit: Mark Ahsmann/Wikipedia)
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir London is the largest Hindu temple of England, in Neasden. (Credit: Mark Ahsmann/Wikipedia)

The organisation charged with defending the Jewish community in the UK has trained more than 80 Hindu priests after two London temples were broken into.

Professionals from the Community Security Trust, which monitors antisemitism and disburses a £14 million annual Government grant to protect Jewish institutions, responded to calls for help after Hindu worshippers grew fearful.

There were 817,000 Hindus in the UK at the last census count, with 157 temples and seven Hindu schools, but two temple break-ins following the Hindu festival of Diwali left the community on edge.

“The Hindu priests were really concerned, because their deities had been stolen, it was a deep sacrilege,” said Rabbi Natan Levy of Strengthening Faith Institutions, which was asked to assist.

“They needed a professional approach to security that was sensitive to faith nuances. That’s CSTs strong suit. It was a perfect match.”

CST professionals provided security training in London, Coventry, Birmingham and Sandwell for more than 80 Hindu priests, trustees and community leaders.

Deepak Naik, a consultant for the Hindu Temples, said: “The Hindu community deeply appreciated CST sharing learning and their interest in preventing and reduce harm and damage. It was valued and appreciated. I hope we can build on .”

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir London is the largest Hindu temple of England, in northwest London. Mark Ahsmann (Blake Ezra)

The CST’s communications director Mark Gardner said the organisation “has long helped Hindu temples, in addition to our work with churches and mosques,” helping them to “plan and implement a more secure environment for worshippers”.

Gardner said the need had only grown since deadly attacks on a synagogue and mosque in Pittsburgh and Christchurch respectively, and Levy said international events meant CST’s training was becoming incredibly sought-after.

“That has just opened the floodgates,” he said. “We’re getting calls up and down the country asking for this training. The Temples felt they had nowhere to turn. Now they see a viable model in the Jewish community. It’s brought the two communities together.”

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