Islamic world reacts with ‘disgust’ at mosque attacks
Political and Islamic leaders expressed their disgust at the deadly shooting at two mosques in New Zealand on March 15, with some citing rising "Islamophobia" as responsible.
As governments in Asia and the Middle East scrambled to find out how many of their citizens had been caught up in the bloodshed in the city of Christchurch, there was also anger that the attackers targeted worshippers at Friday prayers.
"I blame these increasing terror attacks on the current Islamophobia post-9/11 where 1.3 billion Muslims have collectively been blamed for any act of terror," Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan posted on social media.
In a statement, Al-Azhar University, Egypt's 1,000-year-old seat of Sunni Islamic learning, said the attacks had "violated the sanctity of the houses of God.”
"We warn the attack is a dangerous indicator of the dire consequences of escalating hate speech, xenophobia, and the spread of Islamophobia."
More had to be done to promote the co-existence of different religions and cultures, the university said.
It was a sentiment echoed by United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash.
"Our collective work against violence and hate must continue with renewed vigour," he said.
Indonesia's ambassador to New Zealand, Tantowi Yahya, told Reuters six Indonesians had been inside one of the mosques when the attack occurred, with three managing to escape and three unaccounted for.
"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.
Afghanistan's ambassador to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, Wahidullah Waissi, said on Twitter three Afghans had been wounded.
Two Malaysians were also wounded in the attack, its foreign ministry said.
Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Shahriar Alam said it was "extremely lucky" the country's cricket team did not suffer casualties. The team, in the city to play a match against the New Zealand national team, arrived for Friday prayers as the shooting occurred, the match has been cancelled.