This morning, many of us woke up to the terrible news that a terrorist attack had occurred during Friday prayers on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The horrific attacks killed 49 people and wounded dozens more with two explosive devices having to be defused. As of yet, one man in his 20s has been charged with murder, with two others under investigation.
Residents across Kirklees have been left shocked and heartbroken.
Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council, reacted to the news via social media:
“Awoke to the most sickening of news. People murdered, while gathered for prayer. An act of terrorism. Truly obscene. My thoughts, today, are for those families who have lost loved ones and for those injured.”
“At times like this, important to say, and say again, that we have #MoreInCommon.”
Flags are flying at half-mast at town halls across the borough out of respect to the victims, and council community staff have been visiting local mosques. Police patrols have also been present at Mosques and in the community.
Tracy Brabin, MP for Batley and Spen, wrote in a letter posted to social media:
“My heart goes out to all the victims and their families during this awful time. Mosques are a place of worship and peace for the community and to be attacked whilst at prayer is a despicable act.”
“As someone who takes great pride in the community I grew up in, this is a stark reminder of where Islamophobia and far right ideology can take us”
“I will re-double my efforts to call out Islamophobia wherever it raises its ugly head.”
Paula Sherriff, MP for Dewsbury, also reacted on social media:
“Thoroughly sickened and horrified to learn what has happened in Christchurch. New Zealand may be far away but we stand shoulder to shoulder with all who seek peace and reject hatred”
Local priest Mark Umpleby, attended Friday prayers at Madina Masjid in Batley to share “flowers” “love” and “prayers” with Muslim friends and there has been outpouring support for Muslims across the borough.
New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, condemned the attack as an act of terror:
“What has happened in Christchurch is an extraordinary act of unprecedented violence. It has no place in New Zealand. Many of those affected will be members of our migrant communities – New Zealand is their home – they are us.”
A vigil to remember the victims of the masjid massacre, and stand together against hate and terror, is was held at the Al-Hikmah Centre in Batley on Friday 15 March at 7:15pm with local faith leaders, MPs and community leaders in attendance.
Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected.