Mosque attacks spark outrage, fuel concern over Islamophobia

 
 
Updated 3/15/2019 2:05 PM
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  • People take part in a vigil at the New Zealand War Memorial on Hyde Park Corner in London, Friday, March 15, 2019. Other members of Britain’s royal family have followed Queen Elizabeth II in expressing their sadness over the shootings in Christchurch New Zealand. In a joint statement, Princes William and Harry, together with their spouses, the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex, said that their hearts go out to those who lost their lives in the mosque shootings. (Dominic Lipinski/PA via AP)

    People take part in a vigil at the New Zealand War Memorial on Hyde Park Corner in London, Friday, March 15, 2019. Other members of Britain’s royal family have followed Queen Elizabeth II in expressing their sadness over the shootings in Christchurch New Zealand. In a joint statement, Princes William and Harry, together with their spouses, the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex, said that their hearts go out to those who lost their lives in the mosque shootings. (Dominic Lipinski/PA via AP) Associated Press

  • A woman leaves the Islamic Cultural Center of New York under increased police security following the shooting in New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019, in New York.

    A woman leaves the Islamic Cultural Center of New York under increased police security following the shooting in New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019, in New York. Associated Press

  • Turkish police patrol the plaza in front of he Byzantine-era Hagia Sophia, one of Istanbul's main tourist attractions Hagia Sophia, next to an election poster of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul, Friday, March 15, 2019. The poster reads in Turkish: 'Istanbul for us is a love story'. Erdogan says at least three Turkish citizens were injured in the attack that targeted Muslim worshippers in New Zealand and that he has spoken to one of them.

    Turkish police patrol the plaza in front of he Byzantine-era Hagia Sophia, one of Istanbul's main tourist attractions Hagia Sophia, next to an election poster of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul, Friday, March 15, 2019. The poster reads in Turkish: 'Istanbul for us is a love story'. Erdogan says at least three Turkish citizens were injured in the attack that targeted Muslim worshippers in New Zealand and that he has spoken to one of them. Associated Press

  • A Union flag flies at half mast in Westminster in London, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister called "one of New Zealand's darkest days," as authorities detained four people and defused explosive devices in what appeared to be a carefully planned attack.

    A Union flag flies at half mast in Westminster in London, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister called "one of New Zealand's darkest days," as authorities detained four people and defused explosive devices in what appeared to be a carefully planned attack. Associated Press

  • Demonstrators march after the mosque attacks in New Zealand, during a protest in Istanbul, Friday, March 15, 2019.  World leaders expressed condolences and condemnation Friday following the deadly attacks on mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, while Muslim leaders said the mass shooting was evidence of a rising tide of violent anti-Islam sentiment.

    Demonstrators march after the mosque attacks in New Zealand, during a protest in Istanbul, Friday, March 15, 2019. World leaders expressed condolences and condemnation Friday following the deadly attacks on mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, while Muslim leaders said the mass shooting was evidence of a rising tide of violent anti-Islam sentiment. Associated Press

  • A demonstrator holding a picture from the scene of the mosque attacks in New Zealand, chant slogans during a protest against the attacks, in Istanbul, Friday, March 15, 2019. At least 49 people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister called "one of New Zealand's darkest days."

    A demonstrator holding a picture from the scene of the mosque attacks in New Zealand, chant slogans during a protest against the attacks, in Istanbul, Friday, March 15, 2019. At least 49 people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister called "one of New Zealand's darkest days." Associated Press

  • Indian Muslims hold placards during a condolence meeting and protest against Fridays mass shootings in New Zealand in Mumbai, India, Friday, March. 15, 2019. Dozens of people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister called "one of New Zealand's darkest days."

    Indian Muslims hold placards during a condolence meeting and protest against Fridays mass shootings in New Zealand in Mumbai, India, Friday, March. 15, 2019. Dozens of people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister called "one of New Zealand's darkest days." Associated Press

  • Demonstrators march against the mosque attacks in New Zealand, during a protest in Istanbul, Friday, March 15, 2019. The banner reads in Turkish: 'Say Stop to Global Terror'. At least 49 people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister called "one of New Zealand's darkest days."

    Demonstrators march against the mosque attacks in New Zealand, during a protest in Istanbul, Friday, March 15, 2019. The banner reads in Turkish: 'Say Stop to Global Terror'. At least 49 people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister called "one of New Zealand's darkest days." Associated Press

  • Pakistani traders protest to condemn the New Zealand mosque shooting, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, March 15, 2019. Pakistan's prime minister Imran Khan has condemned attacks on two mosques in New Zealand, saying he blames rising "Islamophobia." Khan wrote Friday on Twitter that "terrorism does not have a religion." Placard at bottom right reads "We strongly condemn attack on innocent and unarmed Muslim worshippers."

    Pakistani traders protest to condemn the New Zealand mosque shooting, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, March 15, 2019. Pakistan's prime minister Imran Khan has condemned attacks on two mosques in New Zealand, saying he blames rising "Islamophobia." Khan wrote Friday on Twitter that "terrorism does not have a religion." Placard at bottom right reads "We strongly condemn attack on innocent and unarmed Muslim worshippers." Associated Press

  • Worshippers pray for victims and families of the Christchurch shootings during an evening vigil a the Lakemba Mosque, Friday, March 125, 2029, in Wakemba, New South Wales, Australia. At least 49 people have been killed in mass shootings as worshippers gathered for Friday prayers in two New Zealand mosques. (Mark Goudkamp via AP)

    Worshippers pray for victims and families of the Christchurch shootings during an evening vigil a the Lakemba Mosque, Friday, March 125, 2029, in Wakemba, New South Wales, Australia. At least 49 people have been killed in mass shootings as worshippers gathered for Friday prayers in two New Zealand mosques. (Mark Goudkamp via AP) Associated Press

  • A demonstrator hangs banners from multi-faith group 'Turn to Love' during a vigil at New Zealand House in London, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister called "one of New Zealand's darkest days," as authorities detained four people and defused explosive devices in what appeared to be a carefully planned attack.

    A demonstrator hangs banners from multi-faith group 'Turn to Love' during a vigil at New Zealand House in London, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister called "one of New Zealand's darkest days," as authorities detained four people and defused explosive devices in what appeared to be a carefully planned attack. Associated Press

  • Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at the funeral of former minister and his advisor Beril Dedeoglu, in Istanbul, Friday, March 15, 2019. Erdogan called on Western nations to rapidly take measures to curb rising racism against Islam and Muslims, saying new attacks such as the mass shootings in New Zealand would otherwise be "inevitable." (Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool)

    Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at the funeral of former minister and his advisor Beril Dedeoglu, in Istanbul, Friday, March 15, 2019. Erdogan called on Western nations to rapidly take measures to curb rising racism against Islam and Muslims, saying new attacks such as the mass shootings in New Zealand would otherwise be "inevitable." (Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool) Associated Press

  • A police officer stands outside Finsbury Park Mosque following the Christchurch mosque attacks in New Zealand, as worshipers begin to arrive for the Friday prayer service, in London, Friday March 15, 2019.  World leaders expressed condolences and condemnation Friday following the deadly attacks on mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, while Muslim leaders said the mass shooting was evidence of a rising tide of violent anti-Islam sentiment. (Yui Mok/PA  via AP)

    A police officer stands outside Finsbury Park Mosque following the Christchurch mosque attacks in New Zealand, as worshipers begin to arrive for the Friday prayer service, in London, Friday March 15, 2019. World leaders expressed condolences and condemnation Friday following the deadly attacks on mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, while Muslim leaders said the mass shooting was evidence of a rising tide of violent anti-Islam sentiment. (Yui Mok/PA via AP) Associated Press

  • Britain's leader of the opposition Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn speaks to the media alongside demonstrators from multi-faith group 'Turn to Love' holding a vigil at New Zealand House in London, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister called "one of New Zealand's darkest days," as authorities detained four people and defused explosive devices in what appeared to be a carefully planned attack.

    Britain's leader of the opposition Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn speaks to the media alongside demonstrators from multi-faith group 'Turn to Love' holding a vigil at New Zealand House in London, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister called "one of New Zealand's darkest days," as authorities detained four people and defused explosive devices in what appeared to be a carefully planned attack. Associated Press

  • Bangladeshi activists shout slogans during a protest in front of Baitul Mukkaram National Mosque against Friday's mass shootings in New Zealand, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, March 15, 2019. Dozens of people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister called "one of New Zealand's darkest days."

    Bangladeshi activists shout slogans during a protest in front of Baitul Mukkaram National Mosque against Friday's mass shootings in New Zealand, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, March 15, 2019. Dozens of people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister called "one of New Zealand's darkest days." Associated Press

  • Pakistanis protest to condemn the New Zealand mosque shooting, in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, March 15, 2019. Pakistan's prime minister Imran Khan has condemned attacks on two mosques in New Zealand, saying he blames rising "Islamophobia." Khan wrote Friday on Twitter that "terrorism does not have a religion."

    Pakistanis protest to condemn the New Zealand mosque shooting, in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, March 15, 2019. Pakistan's prime minister Imran Khan has condemned attacks on two mosques in New Zealand, saying he blames rising "Islamophobia." Khan wrote Friday on Twitter that "terrorism does not have a religion." Associated Press

  • A young demonstrator holds a banner from multi-faith group 'Turn to Love' during a vigil at New Zealand House in London, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister called "one of New Zealand's darkest days," as authorities detained four people and defused explosive devices in what appeared to be a carefully planned attack.

    A young demonstrator holds a banner from multi-faith group 'Turn to Love' during a vigil at New Zealand House in London, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister called "one of New Zealand's darkest days," as authorities detained four people and defused explosive devices in what appeared to be a carefully planned attack. Associated Press

  • A police car drives past the Grand Mosque in Paris, Friday, March 15, 2019. France is increasing security measures at mosques and other religious sites after the deadly attack against two mosques in New Zealand.

    A police car drives past the Grand Mosque in Paris, Friday, March 15, 2019. France is increasing security measures at mosques and other religious sites after the deadly attack against two mosques in New Zealand. Associated Press

  • A demonstrator holds a banner from multi-faith group 'Turn to Love' during a vigil at New Zealand House in London, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister called "one of New Zealand's darkest days," as authorities detained four people and defused explosive devices in what appeared to be a carefully planned attack.

    A demonstrator holds a banner from multi-faith group 'Turn to Love' during a vigil at New Zealand House in London, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister called "one of New Zealand's darkest days," as authorities detained four people and defused explosive devices in what appeared to be a carefully planned attack. Associated Press

  • Banners from multi-faith group 'Turn to Love' are stuck to the windows during a vigil at New Zealand House in London, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister called "one of New Zealand's darkest days," as authorities detained four people and defused explosive devices in what appeared to be a carefully planned attack.

    Banners from multi-faith group 'Turn to Love' are stuck to the windows during a vigil at New Zealand House in London, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister called "one of New Zealand's darkest days," as authorities detained four people and defused explosive devices in what appeared to be a carefully planned attack. Associated Press

  • Young demonstrators hold banners from multi-faith group 'Turn to Love' during a vigil at New Zealand House in London, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister called "one of New Zealand's darkest days," as authorities detained four people and defused explosive devices in what appeared to be a carefully planned attack.

    Young demonstrators hold banners from multi-faith group 'Turn to Love' during a vigil at New Zealand House in London, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister called "one of New Zealand's darkest days," as authorities detained four people and defused explosive devices in what appeared to be a carefully planned attack. Associated Press

BRUSSELS -- World leaders expressed condolences and condemnation Friday following the deadly attacks on mosques in New Zealand, while Muslim leaders said the mass shooting was evidence of a rising tide of violent Islamophobia.

In a tweet, U.S. President Donald Trump sent "warmest sympathy and best wishes" to the people of New Zealand.

He wrote that "49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!"

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the attacks the "latest example of rising racism and Islamophobia."

New Zealand police said at least 49 people were killed Friday at two mosques in the picturesque South Island city of Christchurch. More than 20 were seriously wounded in what Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called a "terrorist attack."

One man was arrested and charged with murder in what appeared to be a carefully planned racist attack. Police also defused explosive devices in a car. Two other people were being held in custody and police were trying to determine how they might be involved.

Speaking at the funeral of a former minister, Erdogan said the Islamophobia that motivated the attacks "has rapidly started to take over Western communities like a cancer."

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan echoed those sentiments.

"I blame these increasing terror attacks on the current Islamophobia post-9/11 where Islam & 1.3 bn Muslims have collectively been blamed for any act of terror by a Muslim," he tweeted.

The secretary-general of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Youssef al-Othaimeen, said in a statement that the attack "served as a further warning on the obvious dangers of hate, intolerance, and Islamophobia."

Queen Elizabeth II, who is New Zealand's head of state, said in a message to the country she was "deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch" and sent condolences to families and friends of victims. The queen also paid tribute to emergency services and volunteers supporting the injured.

"At this tragic time, my thoughts and prayers are with all New Zealanders," she said in her message.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted that he learned of the attack "with horror and profound sadness."

"The European Union will always stand with #NewZealand and against those who heinously want to destroy our societies and our way of life," he wrote.

In France, home to western Europe's largest Muslim community, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner ordered regional authorities to bolster security at mosques as a precaution.

London's mayor, Sadiq Khan, said the city's Metropolitan Police force would be visible outside mosques.

"London stands with the people of Christchurch in the face of this horrific terror attack," he said. "London will always celebrate the diversity that some seek to destroy."

Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York City is providing extra security for Muslim community centers and mosques. He said he wants the city's Muslims to know that New Yorkers "truly embrace" them and "have their backs."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadians are appalled by the attack and said they remember all too well the sorrow after a Canadian man shot dead six Muslim men in a Quebec mosque in 2017.

"Far too often, Muslims suffer unimaginable loss and pain in the places where they should feel safest," Trudeau said in a statement. "To move forward as a world, we need to recognize diversity as a source of strength, and not a threat."

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo condemned the attacks, in which an Indonesian father and son were among those wounded. Indonesian Muslim leaders expressed anger at the shooting rampage while urging Muslims to show restraint.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said bigotry in Western countries contributed to the attacks on Muslims in New Zealand. In a Friday tweet, he also criticized the West for "defending demonization of Muslims as 'freedom of expression.'"

Afghanistan's Taliban movement - Islamic militants who carry out near-daily attacks on Afghan security forces - also condemned the shooting rampage, calling it an "unforgivable crime."

Taliban spokesman Qari Mohammad Yusuf called on the New Zealand government to investigate "the root cause of such terrorism and hand a hefty punishment to the attackers."

Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group, which is considered a terrorist organization by Western countries, condemned the "policy of hatred that the United States is feeding around the world instead of prevailing religious values that call for forgiveness."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the attacks a "brazen act of terror." His office said on Twitter that Israel mourns the murder of innocent worshippers, condemns the assault and sends its condolences to bereaved families.

Jordan's King Abdullah II tweeted that "the heinous massacre against Muslims praying in peace in New Zealand is an appalling terrorist crime. It unites us against extremism, hatred and terrorism, which knows no religion." Jordan's Foreign Ministry confirmed that one Jordanian was killed and five wounded in the attack.

A telegram of condolences sent by the Vatican on behalf of Pope Francis said he was "deeply saddened to learn of the injury and loss of life" caused by the "senseless acts of violence" in Christchurch. He assured all New Zealanders, and in particular the Muslim community, of his "heartfelt solidarity."

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