'We feel your pain'- Jewish leaders, politicians condemn New Zealand mosque attacks
The SA Jewish Board of Deputies, the Al Jama-ah party of SA and Mandla Mandela have condemned an attack on worshippers in two mosques in in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday.
On its Facebook page, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies said: "We stand up against hate crimes against all religious communities. Our sympathies are with the families of the deceased and our prayers with those injured. We stand in solidarity with the people of Christchurch. We stand in solidarity with the Muslim community."
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Mandela appealed for calm. "Our sincere prayers are with the Muslim community of Christchurch and New Zealand and we appeal to them to be calm in the face of adversity. We feel your pain and we share your sense of loss," said Mandela.
Meanwhile, Al Jama-ah national leader Ganief Hendricks said the attack was a stark reminder of the victimisation Muslims and immigrants faced all over the world.
"The rise in racism and Islamaphobia is further stoked by irresponsible leaders who purposefully play into the narrative of hatred and division," said Hendricks.
Hendricks urged South African Muslims and those around the world to not retaliate in any way, but to rather "be a reflection of the true religion of peace and tolerance that we know Islam to be."
He advised Muslims to be vigilant to not allow social media interaction to further fan the flames of hatred.
"Do not allow extremism and terrorism in any form to win. Let us all stand firm and commit to a peaceful, fair and just society," said Hendricks.
Forty-nine people were killed in the attacks and 20 others were seriously injured.
People were warned to stay indoors as police tried to determine if more than one gunman was involved.
According to AFP news wire, the attack, thought to be the deadliest against Muslims in the west in modern times, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern immediately labelled it a terrorist act as she guided a shocked nation on one of its "darkest days".
The wire reported that the attacker livestreamed footage of him going from room to room and victim to victim, shooting wounded people at close range as they struggled to crawl away.
A 28-year-old Australian-born man has been arrested and charged with murder.
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