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World reacts to terrorist attacks on two mosques in New Zealand

  • 16 Mar 2019

At least 50 people were killed after a shooter opened fire inside two mosques in Christchurch. New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it was "one of New Zealand's darkest days."

Ambulance staff take a man from outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, on March 15, 2019. ( AP )

People around the world expressed revulsion at the deadly shootings at two mosques in New Zealand on Friday as some countries revealed that their citizens had been caught up in the bloodshed.

The timing of the shootings in the city of Christchurch, during Friday prayers, and the social media posts of what appeared to be live, point-of-view video footage of the assault by a gunman added to the distress.

At least 50 people have been killed and more than 40 seriously wounded in the mass shootings.

"It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack," New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, adding it marked "one of New Zealand's darkest days."

Australia

The gunman who killed numerous worshippers in a New Zealand mosque on Friday was a right-wing terrorist with Australian citizenship, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

"We stand here and condemn, absolutely, the attack that occurred today by an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist," Morrison told a press conference.

He confirmed media reports that the gunman who mowed down worshippers in the main mosque in the southern New Zealand city of Christchurch was an Australian-born citizen.

He said Australian security authorities were investigating any links between the country and the attack, but declined to provide further details about the gunman.

Morrison offered his sympathies to the people of New Zealand, one of Australia's closest neighbours.

"We are not just allies, we are not just partners, we are family," he said.

Hundreds of mourners attend Sydney mosque

Mourners packed the Lakemba Mosque in Australia's biggest city Sydney to pray for the victims of the Christchurch attack.

New South Wales parliamentarian representing Lakemba Jihad Dib said, "When hatred rears its head, we must stand together to ensure that humanity always wins out."

Bangladesh

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has sent a message to Ardern, expressing her "deep shock" and condemnation of the attacks on two mosques in Christchurch.

Hasina's press wing said the prime minister reached out to Ardern on Friday.

An international cricket match between New Zealand and Bangladesh has been cancelled after players from the visiting team narrowly avoided the mass shooting at one of the mosques.

Bangladesh's cricket board president says the team is safe in a locked hotel in Christchurch.

Canada

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 recognise diversity as a source of strength, and not a threat." 

Police stepped up security patrols at mosques across the country. 

Denmark

Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen said, "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, expressed "shock" at the news of the New Zealand attack.

France

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, which left at least 50 dead.

France is increasing security measures at mosques and other religious sites after the deadly attack against two mosques in New Zealand.

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

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 were a "brutal crime" that touches people of all religions around the world.

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

"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 added, "We stand at the side of the victims. Stay strong New Zealand!"

Great Britain

Britain's Queen Elizabeth, the head of state of New Zealand, said she was deeply saddened by the shootings.

"I have been deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch today. Prince Philip and I send our condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives," the queen said in a statement.

"I also pay tribute to the emergency services and volunteers who are providing support to those who have been injured. At this tragic time, my thoughts and prayers are with all New Zealanders."

I have been deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch today. Prince Philip and I send our condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives

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London Mayor Sadiq Khan has also expressed solidarity with the people of New Zealand following the attacks on worshippers.

Khan said the news was "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 had been radicalised by far-right propaganda he found online.

Gulf Arab states

Gulf Arab states are condemning the attack on the mosques in New Zealand.

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

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."

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

Indonesia

"Indonesia strongly condemns this shooting act, especially at a place of worship while a Friday prayer was ongoing," Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said in a statement.

She was earlier cited by media as saying six Indonesians had been inside the mosque when the attack occurred, with three managing to escape and three unaccounted for.

Indonesia's ambassador to New Zealand, Tantowi Yahya, said enquiries were being made as to whether Indonesians were caught up in the attack. There are 331 Indonesians in Christchurch, including 134 students, the foreign ministry said.

Indonesia is the world's biggest Muslim country.

Iran

Iran's foreign minister says bigotry in Western countries has led to the attacks on Muslims in New Zealand.

In a Friday tweet, Mohammad Javad Zarif said, "Impunity in Western 'democracies' to promote bigotry leads to this."

Earlier on Friday, Iran condemned the attack and asked the New Zealand government to bring those who carried out the "racist, inhumane and barbaric" attack to justice.

Japan

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned the attack.

Abe said his country expresses its sincere solidarity with the people of New Zealand in overcoming this difficult time.

"Terrorism cannot be justified for any reason. In close cooperation with New Zealand and the international community, Japan is determined to resolutely stand up against terrorism," Abe tweeted. 

Malaysia

In Muslim-majority Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim, the leader of the biggest party in its ruling coalition, said one Malaysian had been wounded in the attack he described as a "black tragedy facing humanity and universal peace."

"I am deeply saddened by this uncivilized act, which goes against humanistic values and took the lives of civilians," he said in a statement.

"We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims and the people of New Zealand."

Pakistan

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan strongly condemned the terrorist attack, saying "terrorism does not have a religion." 

Spain

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says he's shocked at the "terrible attacks."

In a tweet, 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 wrote.

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

"I strongly condemn the terror attack against the Al Noor Mosque in #NewZealand and Muslim worshippers," Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a tweet.

In another tweet, 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 described the attacks as "the latest example of rising racism and Islamophobia."

Later on Friday, Erdogan called New Zealand's Governor-General Patsy Reddy to offer his condolences.

He said Turkish delegation including Vice President Fuat Oktay and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will visit New Zealand to make evaluations for a new road map.

United States

US President Donald Trump sent "warmest sympathy and best wishes" to the people of New Zealand.

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