JAKARTA: Political and Islamic leaders across Asia expressed their disgust at the deadly shooting at two mosques in New Zealand on Friday as some revealed their citizens had been caught up in the bloodshed.
The timing of the shootings in the city of Christchurch, during Friday prayers, and the posting on social media of what appeared to be live, point-of-view video footage of the assault by a gunman added to the distress of many.
Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs, tweeted “heartfelt condolences” to New Zealand on Friday.
Gargash wrote: “Our collective work against violence & hate must continue with renewed vigor. Our thoughts & prayers are with the families of the victims.”
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman condemned what he called a “racist and fascist” attack.
“This attack shows the point which hostility to Islam and enmity to Muslims has reached,” Ibrahim Kalin wrote on Twitter.
“We have seen many times Islamophobic discourse against Islam and Muslims turning into a perverse and murderous ideology. The world must raise its voice against such discourse and must say stop to Islamophobic fascist terrorism,” he said.
“Indonesia strongly condemns this shooting act, especially at a place of worship while a Friday prayer was ongoing,” Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said in a statement.
She was earlier cited by media as saying six Indonesians had been inside the mosque when the attack occurred, with three managing to escape and three unaccounted for.
Indonesia’s ambassador to New Zealand, Tantowi Yahya, told Reuters inquiries were being made as to whether Indonesians were caught up in the attack. There are 331 Indonesians in Christchurch, including 134 students, the foreign ministry said.
In Muslim-majority Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim, the leader of the biggest party in its ruling coalition, said one Malaysian had been wounded in the attack he described as a “black tragedy facing humanity and universal peace.”
“I am deeply saddened by this uncivilized act, which goes against humanistic values and took the lives of civilians,” he said in a statement.
“We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims and the people of New Zealand.”
Afghanistan’s ambassador to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, Wahidullah Waissi, said on Twitter three Afghans had been wounded.
“My thoughts are with the family of Afghan origin who’ve been shot and killed at this heinous incident.”
Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal condemned the incident on social media, using the hashtag #pakistanagainstterror.
Muslim World League
The Muslim World League expressed its deep sorrow and condemnation at the terrorist operation that claimed dozens of lives and injuries in some mosques in New Zealand, which clearly reflected one of the worst forms of inciting hatred in a world that is most in need of circumventing the values of love, harmony and peace.
The Secretary-General and Chairman of the World Council of Muslim Scholars, Sheikh Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, said that this barbaric work is added to the parallel models of the acts of Daesh and Al-Qaeda. The league always emphasizes the importance of tackling extremism and counter-extremism. In particular, the enactment of legislation that prevents all forms of incitement of hatred, including religious and ethnic contempt.
The Secretary-General of the Association confirmed his confidence in the New Zealand government to bring those involved in this crime to justice and to prosecute them as terrorists.
Meanwhile, ordinary people have also expressed their horror online about a widely disseminated video of a man apparently indiscriminately shooting people inside a mosque with an assault rifle.
The video has yet to be confirmed by authorities as being posted by a shooter involved in the attack.
“Feeling very sick, that person is brainless and a savage,” said one Indonesian twitter user who identified himself as Farhan Adhitama.
New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said many of those caught up in the shootings may have been migrants and refugees.
“They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. They have no place in New Zealand,” she said.
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