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World leaders react to New Zealand mosque shootings

Last Updated Mar 15, 2019 at 11:10 pm EDT

Several world leaders are sending their condolences and increasing security at mosques following the mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand that killed 49 people and seriously injured more than 20 people.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the events in Christchurch represented “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence” and acknowledged many of those affected may be migrants and refugees.

“It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,” Ardern said.

Australia

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who confirmed one of the four people detained was an Australian-born citizen, said “Australians stand with all New Zealanders today during this dark time where hate and violence has stolen their peace and innocence.”

Canada

The National Council for Canadian Muslims is recommending Canadian Muslim institutions and mosques review their existing security measure ahead of Friday worship services. If they are concerned, they should reach out to local police and to the NCCM.

Toronto police said that in response to the New Zealand attacks, they will have a “heightened presence in the community, focusing on places of worship – especially mosques” to ensure public safety.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Canada’s threat level remains unchanged at medium and said “Everybody has the right to practice their faith and culture without fear.”

Prime Minister called the attacks “appalling” and says Canada condemns the shootings.

Toronto Mayor John Tory tweeted his support to the Muslim community and wrote that he is “deeply saddened.”

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer reacted to the mass shooting on Twitter, saying, “All people must be able to practice their faith freely and without fear.”

He issued a revised statement Friday afternoon after The National Council of Canadian Muslims said that it is “essential” that political leaders call the attacks for what they are: Islamophobic terrorism.

Scheer’s new statement added mention of the fact two mosques were the targets and condemned a “cowardly and hateful attack on the Muslim community.”

As Canadians are learning the horrific details of last night’s terror attack at two New Zealand mosques, I wish to…

Posted by Andrew Scheer on Friday, March 15, 2019

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he was heartbroken by the devastating news of the deadly shootings. “Islamophobia kills – and has no place anywhere in the world.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford strongly condemned the horrifying attack, tweeting, “I join people across Ontario and Canada and stand with all legislators at Queen’s Park in condemning this hatred and violence against our Muslim brothers and sisters.

United States

U.S. President Donald Trump gave his “warmest sympathy” to the people of New Zealand in a tweet, saying “innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured.”

Trump added “The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do.”

Vice President Mike Pence tweeted his condolences and prayers to the families of those who died in the shooting, adding “We condemn this attack on people of faith in the strongest terms.”

Denmark

Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen also commented that “extremism has again shown its ugly face.”

Denmark’s Jewish community, which was targeted in a February 2015 attack where a guard was shot and killed, also expressed “shock” at the news of the New Zealand attack.

France

France is increasing security measures at mosques and other religious sites after the deadly attack.

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner tweeted Friday that he ordered regional prefects to send patrols and reinforce surveillance of places of worship “as a precaution.”

French President Emmanuel Macron, also in a tweet, denounced the “odious crimes against the mosques in New Zealand” and said that France will work with international partners to fight terrorism.

The rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris condemned the attack in Christchurch.

France is home to western Europe’s largest Muslim community. While French Muslim and Jewish sites are sporadically targeted by vandals, France has not seen a major attack on mosques of the kind that targeted New Zealand.

Germany

Germany’s foreign minister says the attacks on two mosques in Christchurch are a “brutal crime” that touches people of all religions around the world.

In two tweets, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Friday Germany’s sympathies were with the friends and families of the victims of the attack.

He says “the horrific terrorist attack in Christchurch targeted peacefully praying Muslims – if people are murdered solely because of their religion, that is an attack on all of us.”

Maas says “we stand at the side of the victims. Stay strong New Zealand!”

Japan

Japan’s top government spokesman has offered his condolences to the victims of mosque attacks in New Zealand and says Japan stands by the people of that country.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, in a regular news conference Friday, expressed “heartfelt condolences” to the shooting victims and their families, while extending sympathy for the injured.

Suga expressed “solidarity with the people of New Zealand.”

Japan’s Foreign Ministry issued an emergency safety advisory to Japanese nationals in the area, urging them to stay indoors and follow instructions from the local authorities.

The ministry also advised the Japanese in Christchurch to closely monitor local news “to secure your own safety.”

So far, no Japanese have been affected by the attacks.

Malasyia

Malaysia’s government has slammed the attack on two mosques in New Zealand as an act of terror.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he regretted the incident and urged the New Zealand government to do its best to “arrest these terrorists.”

The foreign ministry said two Malaysians were wounded and have been hospitalized.

“Malaysia condemns in the strongest terms this senseless act of terror on innocent civilians and hopes that those responsible for this barbaric crime be brought to justice,” the ministry said in a statement.

Norway

The prime minister of Norway, which saw 77 people killed in a far-right attack eight years ago, has expressed solidarity with New Zealand after deadly attacks on two mosques.

Erna Solberg told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that “although it is across the globe, this is a strong reminder of how important it is for all of us to help bring down tensions, work against extremism, and that we show solidarity with each other when something like that happens.”

In July 2011, confessed Norwegian right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people. Like the presumed New Zealand attacker, he posted a manifesto online before the attacks.

“This looks like it is a terrorist attack from the extreme right against immigrants and refugees,” Solberg said, adding it is “a reminder that we have to fight extremism in all forms.”

Pakistan

Pakistan’s prime minister has condemned attacks on two mosques in New Zealand, saying he blames rising Islamophobia.

Imran Khan wrote Friday on Twitter that “terrorism does not have a religion.”

He added: “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.”

Pakistani officials say there are no Pakistani citizens among the dead.

Pakistan has witnessed several attacks on places of worship in the past decade, especially targeting its minority Shiite community.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen also tweeted her condolences.

Tsai said: “I’m utterly saddened by the mass shooting in Christchurch, #NewZealand. My thoughts go to the victims & their families.”

U.K.

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.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has expressed solidarity with the people of New Zealand following attacks on worshippers attending prayers at two Christchurch mosques.

Khan, said in a statement Friday that the news is “heartbreaking.”

He says: “London stands with the people of Christchurch in the face of this horrific terror attack. London will always celebrate the diversity that some seek to destroy.”

Khan sought to reassure Muslim communities in London following the attacks, saying that the Metropolitan Police would be visible outside mosques.

London mosques have been targeted in the past. One man died and several others were injured in 2017 when Darren Osborne drove a van into people leaving evening prayers. Prosecutors say Osborne was motivated by a hatred of Muslims and been radicalized by far-right propaganda he found online.

Spain

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says he’s shocked at the “terrible attacks” that killed dozens of worshippers attending Friday prayers in two mosques of New Zealand’s capital, Christchurch.

In a tweet sent on Friday, Sanchez sent condolences to the victims, its families and the government of New Zealand.

“We emphatically condemn violence and the lack of reason of fanatics and extremists who want to break our societies,” Sanchez has written.

Sweden

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom has tweeted that she was “shocked by the attack in Christchurch,” saying “we condemn terrorism in all forms.”

Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has condemned the attacks on mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch calling it the “latest example of rising racism and Islamophobia.”

Tweeting in English and Turkish on Friday, Erdogan said: “On behalf of my country, I offer my condolences to the Islamic world and the people of New Zealand, who have been targeted by this deplorable act.”

He also wished a speedy recovery to the wounded.

Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates

Gulf Arab states are condemning an attack on mosques in New Zealand that killed at least 49 people.

Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all offered their sympathies Friday over the attack.

Saudi Arabia said one of its citizens was lightly wounded in the attack, but survived.

Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, tweeted his condolences, noting that “on a day of peace like Friday and at a place of worship like the mosque, we witnessed the most heinous crime of religious hatred.”

 

With files from News Staff