PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — At least 49 people were killed and dozens more injured in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister called “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”
One man was arrested and charged with murder, and two other armed suspects were taken into custody while police tried to determine what role they played.
Following the deadly terrorist attack, those in the Portland metro started to speak out — showing their support for the victims and those affected.
Ilyas Mohammed, one of the directors at the Islamic Society of SW Washington Mosque said, “This is a clear act of terrorism, and terrorism knows no bounds across religions. I pray for the deceased, their families as well as the perpetrator. May he find his way.“
Mohammed added that they have already taken precautions and will have a police presence at Friday’s prayer service.
The Muslim Educational Trust invited the Portland Muslim community to attend their Friday service for a day of “prayers, mourning and reflections.”
“We call on faith leaders, civic leaders, law enforcement, people of good will and allies to join in countering Islamophobia, racism and bigotry in all its forms and embark a new path on building an inclusive, welcoming and tolerant future. All forms of racism, bigotry, extremism, Islamophobia, racial supremacy and hatred need to be stopped,” MET spokesperson Sahar Bassyouni said in a statement.
MET also gave their condolences to the Muslim world and those affected by the tragedy in Christchurch, New Zealand.
On Friday morning, Portland Police Bureau announced extra patrols to faith-based locations across the city.
“We are also reaching out to the leaders of these communities to let them know we are here for them and they are supported and loved,” the agency said.
Washington County Sheriff’s Office also tweeted their support and said they were working with their partners to provide enhanced patrols near places of worship.
“Hate has no place in our community and we will stop at nothing to protect our neighbors from violence.”
Civil rights groups
The Oregon chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called for political leaders in Oregon and Congress to take “urgent steps to curb far-right extremism” after dozens were killed in the attacks.
“We grieve and stand in solidarity with the Christchurch Muslim community,” CAIR-Oregon spokesperson Zakir Khan said. “We are not looking for statements from political leadership at this point. We need to see action.”
Following the deadly terror attack, Gov. Kate Brown tweeted, “Dan and I send our condolences to the people of New Zealand. Everyone should feel safe in their places of worship. We must do more to fight the hatred that fuels these tragedies. Thank you to all our local law enforcement and Oregon State Police for increasing protection today.”
Sen. Ron Wyden said, “Today’s events are the result of turning a blind eye to racist extremism, bigotry and hatred. It is abhorrent that anyone should live in fear of being attacked in their place of worship. We must always stand together and make sure every community feels safe.”
Sen. Jeff Merkley added, “I am heartbroken and horrified by the anti-Muslim terror attacks in Christchurch. This extremist white supremacy is chilling, and we can’t let it take hold in our societies. America stands with New Zealand today.”
Wash. state Gov. Jay Inslee said, “Our hearts are heavy with sorrow as we mourn those whose lives were taken in New Zealand. We stand in solidarity with the Muslim community worldwide during this terrible time. Hateful rhetoric leads to hateful violence. We must continue to speak loudly and stand strong for the rights of people of all faiths, orientations and nationalities.”
President Donald Trump tweeted his support for New Zealand early Friday morning saying, “My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!”
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the events in Christchurch represented “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence” and acknowledged many of those affected may be migrants and refugees. In addition to the dead, she said more than 20 people were seriously wounded.
Police took three men and a woman into custody after the shootings, which shocked people across the nation of 5 million people. One person was later released.
While there was no reason to believe there were any more suspects, Ardern said the national security threat level was being raised from low to high, the second-highest level.
National carrier Air New Zealand canceled at least 17 flights in and out of Christchurch, saying it couldn’t properly screen customers and their baggage following the shootings.
The Associated Press contributed to this report