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March 16, 2019

World saddened, angered by New Zealand mosque attacks


March 16, 2019

JAKARTA: Leaders around the world expressed disgust and sorrow at the killing of at least 49 people in New Zealand mosques on Friday, and some also expressed anger at what they described as the demonization that fueled such attacks.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday condemned the deadly attack on two mosques in New Zealand, saying it illustrated the growing hostility towards Islam “idly” watched by the world.

“With this attack, hostility towards Islam, that the world has been idly watching and even encouraging for some time, has gone beyond individual harassment to reach the level of mass killing,” Erdogan said.

Hundreds of angry protesters in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, chanted “Allahu akbar!” (God is Greatest) after Friday prayers. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blamed “Western hypocrisy” for the attacks on two mosques in New Zealand “Western hypocrisy of defending demonisation of Muslims as ´freedom of expression´ MUST end,” Zarif tweeted. “Impunity in Western ´democracies´ to promote bigotry leads to this,” the tweet read. Iran´s foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi earlier “strongly condemned the... inhuman and savage” attacks and urged New Zealand´s government to punish “the perpetrators... without any reservations”. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, who is New Zealand’s head of state, said she was “deeply saddened by the appalling events”. US President Trump described the attack as a “horrible massacre” and said the United States stood by New Zealand. In Europe, German Chancellor Merkel mourned “with the New Zealanders for their fellow citizens who were attacked and murdered out of racist hatred while peacefully praying in their mosques”. Her foreign minister, Heiko Maas, said: “When people are murdered solely because of their religion, this is an attack on us all.”

Sadiq Khan, the first Muslim mayor of London, said Londoners stood shoulder to shoulder with the people of Christchurch. He also pointed his finger at those who promote religious hatred: The Palestinian chief peace negotiator, Saeb Erekat, called the attack a “consequence of racist ideologies that continue trying to promote religious wars”. The European Commission said the “senseless act of brutality on innocent people in their place of worship could not be more opposite to the values and the culture of peace and unity that the European Union shares with New Zealand.”

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said the attack brought back memories of 2011, when anti-Muslim extremist Anders Breivik killed 77 at a youth gathering on a Norwegian island: “It shows that extremism is nurtured and that it lives in many places.” Al-Azhar University, Egypt’s 1,000-year-old seat of Sunni Islamic learning, called the attack “a dangerous indicator of the dire consequences of escalating hate speech, xenophobia and the spread of Islamophobia”. Gulf states, including rivals Saudi Arabia and Qatar, closed ranks in condemning the mosque attacks in New Zealand that killed at least 49 worshippers and wounded dozens during Friday prayers. Saudi Arabia condemned “in the strongest terms possible the shootings at two mosques” in the city of Christchurch. Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, rejected “terrorism, extremism, regardless of motives, reasons” in a tweet carried by the official QNA news agency.

Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and the United Arab Emirates also all condemned the mosque attacks which have sparked global revulsion.

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