Global leaders on Friday expressed solidarity and condemned the deadly mass shooting at two mosques in New Zealand in which 49 people were killed and 40 others were injured. While some demanded strict action against the perpetrators, others held the rising “Islamophobia” as the reason behind the attacks.
Taking to Twitter, Trump conveyed his “warmest sympathy and best wishes” to the people of New Zealand. “My warmest sympathy and best wishes go out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all,” he said.
Calling the attacks the “latest example of rising racism and Islamophobia”, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that the “anti-Islam hatred has rapidly started to take over Western communities like a cancer”.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also said the attack was a deliberate demonising of Muslim political struggles. “Not only the perpetrators but also politicians and media that fuel the already escalated Islamophobia and hate in the West, are equally responsible for this heinous attack,” he wrote on the micro-blogging site.
Speaking on similar lines, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said the attack was a result of the “current Islamophobia” post the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US. “I blame these increasing terror attacks on the current Islamophobia post-9/11 (where) 1.3 billion Muslims have collectively been blamed for any act of terror,” he tweeted.
The secretary-general of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Youssef al-Othaimeen, said in a statement that the attack “served as a further warning on the obvious dangers of hate, intolerance, and Islamophobia.”
In a message to New Zealand, Queen Elizabeth II said she was “deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch”. “At this tragic time, my thoughts and prayers are with all New Zealanders,” she said. The queen also paid tribute to the emergency services and volunteers supporting the injured.
In France, home to western Europe’s largest Muslim community, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner ordered regional authorities to step up security at mosques as a precautionary measure.
London’s mayor Sadiq Khan said the city’s Metropolitan Police force would be visible outside mosques. “London stands with the people of Christchurch in the face of this horrific terror attack,” he said, adding “London will always celebrate the diversity that some seek to destroy.”
In Iran, foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi urged New Zealand authorities to bring to justice those who carried out the “racist, inhumane and barbaric” attacks.
Anwar Gargash, the United Arab Emirates’ minister of state for foreign affairs, tweeted, “Our collective work against violence & hate must continue with renewed vigour. Our thoughts & prayers are with the families of the victims.”
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas extended his country’s sympathies to 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,” he said.
In a statement, Al-Azhar University, Egypt’s 1,000-year-old seat of Sunni Islamic learning, said the attacks had “violated the sanctity of the houses of God”. “We warn the attack is a dangerous indicator of the dire consequences of escalating hate speech, xenophobia, and the spread of Islamophobia.”