During the holy month of Ramazan, mosques and playgrounds all over the country are witnessing large gatherings at 'traweeh prayers. So, beware of terrorists who may sneak in to claim innocent lives at the bidding of their masters. We have examples of mosques and shrines that have been targeted in the past. On Dec 4, 2009 four terrorists attacked the Parade Lane mosque in Rawalpindi during Friday prayers, killing 36 people and injuring 61 others. A large gathering in a small mosque, especially for 'traweeh, provides an easy target for terrorists. Such an attack means large casualties. Methods terrorists may adopt in such a situation may be varied: they may open indiscriminate fire with an automatic weapon, plant a time bomb in the mosque to explode it with a remote-controlled device, hurl a hand grenade or send a suicide bomber inside to blow himself up. Here are some suggestions about how to protect mosques and other places during Ramazan. Every mosque management should form a 'watch committee of volunteers to monitor security of the mosque. A team of young unarmed volunteers should be formed to carry out round-the-clock watch and to observe any abnormal or suspicious activity inside and around the mosque. Services of private security agencies can also be hired for this. The mosque should be combed before and after prayers to ensure that no suspicious object, etc., is lying or concealed inside or around the mosque. If something suspicious is found, the police should be called immediately to dispose it of. All entrances to the mosque should remain locked except the main entrance which should be manned either by policemen or by mosque volunteers. However, other entrances should be opened during prayer timings only and must remain under strict security watch. All windows and openings of the mosque should have iron grills, with wire mesh covering, so that no one is able to intrude or throw a hand grenade, etc., from outside. Similarly, if prayers are held in the mosques courtyard, it should be covered with canopies and surrounded by partitions to pre-empt any attack from outside. Mosques should be well-lit at night. For monitoring of the internal and external areas of the mosque by the police during prayer timings, the government should also consider installing closed-circuit television surveillance cameras, with videocassette recorder, in prominent mosques. Worshipers should be told to immediately inform the police or the mosque committee if they suspect something foul. The mosque committee should also organise a neighbourhood watch system in coordination with shopkeepers, hotel/restaurant owners, hawkers and residents of the area around the mosque. Although the primary responsibility of ensuring security of mosques rests with law enforcers, measures suggested above would greatly help to prevent any terrorist attack on mosques. SQN LDR (RETD) S. AUSAF HUSAIN, Karachi, August 3.