(LOS ANGELES, CA, 3/14/19) – The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) called the mass shootings at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday “devastating” and heartbreaking.”
Two mosques were attacked on Friday by at least one gunman, including the largest mosque in Christchurch. The incident is still unfolding and four have reportedly been arrested.
The gunman reportedly live-streamed the attack and posted a manifesto on social media and on an online forum.
In a statement, CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said:
“We are all heartbroken and shocked by the horrific massacre. Dozens of innocent people were murdered inside a mosque. It was the gunman’s intent that his actions would make people around the world feel less safe. Instead, his actions have brought expressions of love, solidarity, hope, and commitment against bigotry from around the world.”
Ayloush pointed to a rise in xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and white nationalism that has led to violence in the United States and across the globe.
“Evil and bigotry cannot be allowed to succeed,” he said. “We will never give in to fear and hatred.”
Ayloush asked the community to remain vigilant and to contact law enforcement immediately if they encounter anything suspicious. He also encouraged mosques to re-evaluate security measures and called for local law enforcement agencies to send at least one patrol car to stand guard at their local masjid during Friday prayer service.
Some law enforcement agencies have already said they would step up security. In a tweet on Thursday night, the Los Angeles Police Department committed to provide “extra patrols around mosques.”
READ: @LAPDHQ Twitter statement
CAIR-LA urges mosques and worshippers to take the following steps before Jummah:
- The community should not panic. Mosque leaders should encourage calmness along with caution.
- Notify your mosque leadership and have them raise awareness and be on the lookout for any suspicious behavior. Report to law enforcement.
- Contact your local law enforcement and ask for increased patrols. Explain what has happened.
- Have a couple of brothers volunteer and just greet people outside the masjid and keep an eye out.
READ: CAIR Offers U.S. Religious Institutions Security Advice Following Church Massacre
CAIR-CA is California’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice and empower American Muslims.
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CONTACT: CAIR-LA Communications Manager Eugene W. Fields, 714-776-1847 or firstname.lastname@example.org