The A.L.E.R.T.U.S Shield program is a nationwide invitation to faith centers, student groups, and businesses to show their solidarity in preventing hostile acts. A.L.E.R.T.U.S. is a grassroots neighborhood watch program dedicated to the concept that the prevention of harm is a religious duty. A.L.E.R.T.U.S. was founded by a Muslim American family, who were inspired by a teaching from their faith, which instructs: “Prevent harm, even if it is simply removing a sharp stone from the road.”
The advisory board of A.L.E.R.T.U.S. includes community members from multiple faith traditions and walks of life. These volunteers are dedicated both to the safety of the community at large, as well as countering religious defamation, and preserving civil rights.
Churches, mosques, temples, and synagogues are spiritual hubs that inculcate peace and piety. For this reason, together they can play a crucial role in curtailing violent radicalization. A.L.E.R.T.U.S. rejects the notion that any one religion is uniquely prone to violence. With that said, violent plots, though exceedingly uncommon, can manifest in the setting of otherwise utterly law abiding and religiously observant communities. The occult and rare nature of such events beckons faith communities to engage this problem in a widespread and grassroots fashion.
A.LE.R.T.U.S encourages all members of society to become active participants instead of passive observers in preventing hostile acts. Out of millions, only a few will ever witness the signs of a violent plot. However, even one can protect many, simply through the prompt notification of law enforcement.
Participant sites display the A.L.E.R.T.U.S. plaque and advocate for the direct reporting of funding, support, or planning of any act of harm or incipient violence. Much like a neighborhood watch sign, the A.L.E.R.T.U.S. plaque serves as a visual deterrent to radical extremists who use dissimulation to exploit faith communities and recruit followers.
The A.L.E.R.T.U.S. website provides direct links with local and federal law enforcement resources. A.L.E.R.T.U.S. is very specific in its advocacy of reporting incipient crime. The free exchange of personal, religious and political ideas, no matter how disagreeable to others, is a core construct of democratic society. Thus, A.L.E.R.T.U.S. opposes the reporting of any information that is not directly related to a possible crime.
As part of its mission, A.L.E.R.T.U.S. educates both law enforcement and the community at large that faith based features such as head coverings, facial hair, prayer marks, and ritual practice are not indicative of radicalization, but rather commonplace and constitutionally protected religious rites. Along these lines, A.L.E.R.T.U.S. opposes religious defamation and hate crimes, while being unequivocal in its stand against violent extremism.
Through united advocacy and individual action, “Unus Plures Defendere” (One can protect many)