As many Kingstonian’s were settling down for the night Thursday, news broke that a mass shooting occurred in a Christchurch, New Zealand mosque, killing 49 people.
“You can’t even fathom what would cause someone to do this heinous act,” said Mona Rahman, the education co-ordinator for the Islamic Centre of Kingston.
Rahman’s reaction was echoed by several who came to the mosque for Friday prayer.
“It is a tragic day for those families who lost their loved ones,” said Salahhuddin Syed.
“How could someone walk into a place of worship and take lives like they didn’t mean anything,” said Imam Abubakar Mulla.
Thursday’s deadly shooting in Christchurch was the first mass shooting in Oceania since the 1996 mass shooting in Port Arthur, Tasmania that killed 35 people. A 22-year span that international security expert, Christian Leuprecht, says may have caught New Zealand law enforcement of guard.
“One way to demonstrate this is that this attack is an outlier and that New Zealand has not had the challenge of this type of attack or a police raid to take out this attack,” said Leuprecht.
Leuprecht said the rarity of this incident is either because the New Zealand authorities are doing a fantastic job thwarting or keeping dangerous people who are capable of this attack out of the country, or perhaps authorities underestimated this threat.
The Kingston Islamic community told Global News that they have received an overwhelming amount of support from many religious groups in the city.
“We have an amazing relationship with all faith groups in Kingston, which is a huge step in moving forward and preventing these incidents from ever happening again,” said Imam Abubakar Mulla.
During Friday’s prayer at the Kingston mosque, police had an officer on site, something, they said, was a way of reaching out to the Islamic community.
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