‘Few acts of greater evil than massacre of people at prayer’

‘Few acts of greater evil than massacre of people at prayer’

Chief Rabbi Mirvis leads UK Jewish condemnation of mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, which killed 49 people.

British Jews have offered condolences and are standing with victims of a mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, which killed 49 people.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called it one of the country’s “darkest days”, while authorities have detained four suspects and defused explosive devices, in what appeared to be a carefully planned attack.

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.

She said more than 20 people were seriously wounded.

Following the horrific attack, messages of sympathy and support flood in from around the world, with Board of Deputies of British Jews President Marie van der Zyl saying: “We are horrified by this sickening terrorist attack.”

“To the victims, the survivors and their families, together with Muslims around the world who have been targets of rising hatred, whipped up by media hostility, we express our absolute and resolute solidarity.”

The Jewish Leadership Council said that “To violate a place of worship in such a way is unforgivable.”

Chief Rabbi Mirvis tweeted, that “there can be few acts of greater evil than the massacre of peaceful people at prayer”, calling it “terrorism of the most despicable kind, callously planned & motivated by the scourge of Islamophobia”.

Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism said: “Murder in a mosque, attacking people at prayer is truly abhorrent and we condemn this act of Islamophobic terror.”

“Our hearts and prayers are with our Muslim brothers and sisters in New Zealand and we express friendship and solidarity with Muslim communities in this country and around the world.

“We must join together to reject and actively counter bigoted extremism, dehumanising discourse and incitement to hatred and violence wherever it occurs”.

The Jewish Council for Racial Equality said: “Sadly as we have seen too many times, this is the result when hate and intolerance are legitimised. Our hearts go out to our Muslim friends and colleagues, we stand with you.”

The New Zealand Jewish Council issued a statement saying it “has no adequate words to describe how sickened and devastated we are by the co-ordinated attacks on Christchurch mosques today.”

We offer our full assistance and support to the Muslim community and stand united with it against the scourge of terrorism and racism, which we must do all we can to banish from New Zealand.”

We are praying for those all those affected and their families.”

The Holocaust Centre of New Zealand issued a statement saying it is “devastated” by the news, adding “we say to all New Zealanders, that acts of hate have no place in our society, and to stand in solidarity against people who believe they do. It is our responsibility to care for, respect and protect everyone and we all have the right to feel as safe in a place of worship as we do in our own homes.”

Authorities have not elaborated on who they detained. But a man who claimed responsibility for the shootings left a 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto in which he explained who he was and his reasoning for his actions. He said he was a 28-year-old white Australian.

Australian prime minister Scott Morrison confirmed that one of the four people arrested was an Australian-born citizen.

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