Local Muslims react to New Zealand shooting

Idaho Falls

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A group of Muslims meeting for weekly prayer service at the Idaho Falls Community Center | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com

IDAHO FALLS – In the wake of Friday’s mass shooting targeting two Muslim mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, local Muslims are expressing their sympathy to those impacted by the massacre.

Members of the Muslim congregation in Idaho Falls issued the following statement to EastIdahoNews.com Sunday afternoon:

“We are deeply saddened and heartbroken by the terrorist attack that took place in Christchurch, New Zealand. This kind of heinous crime is unacceptable. Killing innocent people, including children, at the house of worship cannot be justified. This kind of terrorist attack should be strongly condemned.”

Idaho Falls Muslim Amin Almahie says the Muslim community works tirelessly to ensure the safety of those impacted by anti-religion violence across the globe and here in the United States. He and others in his congregation are calling on the nation’s elected officials to “denounce hate speech and violence in every form.”

New Zealand authorities are racing to identify the 50 people killed in the massacre so that their families can bury them in accordance with Muslim tradition.

In addition to the people killed in the attack Friday, an additional 50 others were wounded in the shootings, authorities said. Of the injured victims, 34 remain in Christchurch Hospital, including 12 in intensive care.

Three men and one woman were arrested in the immediate aftermath of the incident. One man in his late 20s was charged with murder.

Of the other three people apprehended, two were arrested in possession of firearms and police are still trying to understand their involvement, New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush told CNN. On Friday night local time, police tweeted that the pair remain in custody.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that at least one of those arrested is Australian. He said the shooting was the work of an “extremist right-wing, violent terrorist.”

Police said they do not believe there are any other suspects but added that it was still an open investigation.

None of the people arrested had been on any security watch lists prior to the attack.

The shooting occurred around 1:40 p.m. local time, a busy time of day for many mosques around the world when Muslims convene for Friday prayers.

The Idaho Falls Muslim congregation meets Fridays at 1 p.m. in the Idaho Falls Community Center.

EastIdahoNews.com is working on a story about the Idaho Falls congregation. It will be posted soon.

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