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Calgary's Muslim community reacts to terror attacks at N.Z. mosques
Published Friday, March 15, 2019 7:52AM MDT
Last Updated Friday, March 15, 2019 6:28PM MDT
Police in New Zealand say at least 49 people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch on Friday and people around the world are expressing their shock and sympathy over the attacks.
The first shooting occurred at the Masjid Al Noor mosque and the second was at the Linwood Masjid Mosque. At least 49 people were killed and dozens of others were injured.
Officials say the attacks were ‘well planned’ and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called it one of the countries darkest days.
One person has been charged with murder and two others are being detained.
Police also defused explosive devices in a vehicle and authorities are treating the shootings as terror attacks.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his condolences and dismay in a tweet on Friday morning saying that ‘attacking people during prayers in absolutely appalling.’
Trudeau said Canadians join New Zealanders and Muslim communities around the world in grieving.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer also offered his condolences saying ‘All people must be able to practice their faith and without fear.’
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley also took to social media saying ‘Albertans stand with you’ and that love is stronger than hate.
UCP Leader Jason Kenney tweeted that it was ‘Unthinkably evil to shoot people while they pray.’
Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan issued a statement saying the attacks were ‘despicable’ and an ‘assault on humanity.’
“We urge tolerance, inclusion and respect for all people. We fiercely condemn Islamophobia in all its forms. We stand with Muslim communities in New Zealand, Alberta and across the globe,” he said.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi posted a message on his twitter account also condemning the attacks.
Nenshi spoke to CTV News from an energy conference he is attending in the States and said that it's important to support one another.
“My heart is breaking today, I think that most of our hearts are breaking today when we think of this horrific act of terrorism, and that is what it is, it is terrorism,” he said. “I think that when horrific things like this happen, I think we, as Muslims or as human beings, need to think about how we got here and we need to think about how we have to commit ourselves to the fight against hatred wherever we find it.”
The Muslin Council of Calgary released a statement in the wake of the attacks saying that its organization offers its ‘prayers and deepest condolences' to the victims and their families.
‘Muslim Council of Calgary condemns all violence directed towards innocent human beings, irrespective or race, gender, religion, culture or ethnicity. We ask the Muslim community to please be patient, be vigilant and pray for all in these testing times. This is an attack on basic human values, an act of sheer violence planned and executed by group of individuals intolerant to a specific faith. We need to stand in solidarity will all to condemn this heinous attack.”
The council says special prayers will be held on Friday for the victims.
Other world leaders are also reacting to the attacks and are expressing their condemnation and condolences to the people of New Zealand, the victims and their families.
Some countries tightened security at mosques following the attacks.
Calgary police say they don’t have any plans to increase security around mosques here but that they will be able to help if extra security is requested.
Canada’s Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says Canada is closely monitoring the situation in New Zealand and that the threat level in Canada remains unchanged at ‘medium.’
Two vigils will be held on Friday and are open to all Calgarians. The first is at the Genesis Centre at 2:00 p.m. and a second will be held outside City Hall at 7:00 p.m.
(With files from The Canadian Press)