By Muhammad Mussa <br>
LONDON (AA) – An influential London mosque expressed solidarity Friday with the victims of terrorist attacks in New Zealand that killed 49 Muslim worshippers.
“The congregation of the East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre expresses its utter shock and sympathy in the wake of the terrorist atrocity in New Zealand today, where scores of Muslim worshippers were killed by right-wing extremists inside two mosques,” a statement from the mosque said.
The attacks “came in the wake of rising global Islamophobia that has been legitimized by certain sections of the media, politicians and far-right groups” it added.
The East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre, one of the largest in the UK, held a solidarity gathering after Friday prayers that featured guest speakers such as London Mayor Sadiq Khan, the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, and Harun Khan, head of the Muslim Council of Britain.
“We stand here together today in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in New Zealand,” Khan said at the gathering.
“The best solidarity shown is that our diversity is a strength. We may be more than 11,000 miles away from Christchurch in New Zealand, but we feel the ripples of hatred, we feel the ripples of fear and we feel the ripples of sorrow for our brothers and sisters in Christchurch.”
Khan also made it clear that there should be no mistake or illusion in knowing that what happened in New Zealand was a terrorist attack where innocent men, women and children were deliberately targeted due to the sole fact they were Muslims and the houses of worship they congregated in were mosques.
<p>“There are some people who demonize and dehumanize people because of the faith they follow and there are some people who, rather than address people’s fears, play on them: You have a role to play in radicalizing people to become terrorists. And that is why we in London demonstrate that our diversity is a strength, not a weakness” he said.<br>
Harun Khan of the MCB sent prayers and condolences to the families of the victims, calling the attack “the most deadliest” in recent times. He also called on the government to intensify efforts in protecting mosques and Muslim communities and urged British Muslims to stand united and strong and not give in to fear and prejudice.
On Friday afternoon, far-right terrorists massacred 49 Muslim worshippers and injured another 48 as they prepared for Friday prayers at Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre.
One of the shooters — Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old born in Australia, who livestreamed the incident on social media — has been arrested and charged with murder and three other suspects have been remanded in custody.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the atrocity as one of the darkest days in New Zealand. The terrorist attack is the country’s most deadliest mass shooting in history.