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Islamic Society of B.C. condemns shooting at New Zealand mosques


Ambulance staff remove a man from outside a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 15, 2019.


Mark Baker/AP

The Islamic Society of British Columbia has condemned the terror attack at two New Zealand mosques that left 49 people dead Friday and will say a special prayer for the victims.

The society is “outraged, saddened and sickened by the terrorist hate crime” at the mosques, the society said, in a statement Friday.

“We unequivocally condemn this despicable and cowardly act.”

Forty-nine people were killed and scores more injured after a gunman opened fire during prayers at a mosque in Christchurch on Friday.

A second mosque was also targeted in what Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called a well-planned “terrorist attack.”

The attack was broadcast live on social media by a man who police confirmed had also released a manifesto railing against Muslims and immigrants.

New Zealand authorities said initially they had four people in custody but later revised that number to three. One man in his late 20s, whom the authorities declined to name, was charged with murder and was expected to appear in court on Saturday.

The Islamic Society of B.C. society is calling for “absolute justice” in prosecuting those found responsible for the crimes.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims, the New Zealand Muslim community, all New Zealanders and all communities of faith during this awful time,” the society said.

The society said it will say a funeral prayer for the victims of the tragedy immediately during Friday’s service.

It is also calling for “an immediate end to the intemperate language, vicious verbal attacks and false accusations by those who seek to divide our nation, and which encourages those who see violence as an acceptable way to express their views”

Meantime, local authorities said they would be working with the mosques to deal with any safety or security concerns in the wake of the New Zealand mass shooting.

Const. Jason Doucette, a spokesman for the Vancouver police, said they “will remain in close communication with community leaders to ensure the community feels safe and supported.”

He said the VPD does not have any information that links the shooting in New Zealand to Vancouver.

B.C. RCMP Sgt. Janelle Shoihet echoed Doucette, saying they are not aware of any specific threats but continue to exercise increased vigilance. She also said officers will be reaching out to Muslim communities to address any security issues.

She said anyone with information about possible criminal threats to national security is asked to call the RCMP’s National Security Information Network at 1-800-420-5805.

ticrawford@postmedia.com

-With files from The Washington Post

 


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