Preston's Muslim community seek reassurance after terrorist attack on New Zealand mosques

Muslims in Preston are seeking reassurance today after far-right extremists killed 49 worshippers at two mosques in New Zealand.

Friday, 15th March 2019, 10:35 am
Updated Friday, 15th March 2019, 11:43 am
Faith: Preston's Light Foundation organisers Arfan Iqbal, left, and Nadeem Ashfaq at the Quaker meeting house, where they hold monthly discussion groups

The Light Foundation, a Preston community group which aims to break down barriers between faiths, condemned the attack in Christchurch and called for police patrols to be ramped up at mosques in Lancashire.

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A spokesman for the group said: "The EVIL terrorist attacks that have just taken place on two Mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand during the time of 'Jumah', the Friday prayer, was perpetrated by a right wing white supremacist with absolutely no regard for the value or sanctity of human life.

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Armed police patrol outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. Pic - PA.

"Whilst live-streaming his act of sheer depravity, he has claimed more than 40 lives, with scores upon scores of innocent and peaceful worshippers injured and murdered.

"This well thought out and premeditated attack, geared to kill as many men, women and children was no doubt inspired and motivated by none other than pure and simple hatred of Muslims and the peaceful religion of Islam.

"Places of worship are places of sanctuary; a refuge of peace, comfort and security. An attack on a place of worship is therefore an attack against all faiths.

"We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our community in New Zealand and send our love and condolences in what is another deeply dark day in history.

"Our prayers and support will forever be with you."

The Light Foundation said it is calling for a step up in police patrols at mosques in Lancashire and across the UK.

"We will be working with governments representatives across UK and Europe calling for a visible step up in security for Mosques and Islamic centres in times of great worry", said the Light Foundation.

"Terror in whichever form it chooses to manifest itself has no room in our world.

"Evil and division will never win its fight against love and humanity."

A 28-year-old Australian man has claimed responsibility for the shootings. He reportedly posted a 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto online in which he explained who he was and the reasoning behind the attack.

Lancashire Police have been approached for comment.