World leaders condemn Christchurch mosque shootings

World leaders condemn Christchurch mosque shootings

The world reacted with horror to the New Zealand mosque attacks
The world reacted with horror to the New Zealand mosque attacks. (Photo: AFP/Tessa Burrows)

PARIS: Attacks on two mosques in New Zealand which left at least 49 people dead on Friday have sparked horror, revulsion and dismay around the world.

One of the gunmen believed to be an Australian extremist - apparently livestreamed the deadly assault.

READ: Christchurch shootings: 2 Malaysians injured; 6 Indonesians were in mosque during attack

READ: 'Bodies all over me': Eyewitnesses recount horror in Christchurch shootings

"It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack," said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, describing it as "one of New Zealand's darkest days."

Here is a summary of the main international reactions so far.

HEINOUS ATTACK

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he is deeply shocked by the attack, calling it a heinous act. 

"It is a sombre reminder that terrorism remains a serious threat across the world, and that Singapore must be constantly vigilant and prepared," Mr Lee wrote on Facebook.

"This heinous act is an attempt to spread fear and hatred, and create divisions within societies. We need to respond with unity, fortitude and resilience."

Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean said: "We are saddened at the loss of lives and injuries in the Christchurch mosques’ shootings. Our thoughts are with their families and loved ones.

"We continue to face the threat of terrorism and radicalisation in Singapore. Each of us can play a part to pre-empt and prevent such attacks in Singapore by remaining vigilant and reporting any suspicious activities to the authorities promptly."

READ: Singapore strongly condemns Christchurch shootings; no reports of Singaporeans injured

HOPE NZ WILL 'DO THE NECESSARY'

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad expressed his regret over the incident in Christchurch, and said his government will do "everything possible" to see that Malaysians there are safe.

"I hope that the New Zealand government will arrest these terrorists and do the necessary under the law of the country."

"The government will do everything possible to see that Malaysians there are safe. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families of the shooting incident."

Indonesian President Joko Widoyo, head of the world's largest Muslim country, said "we strongly condemn these kind of violent acts".

'HORRIBLE MASSACRE'

"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 US stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!" Trump wrote on Twitter after the Christchurch attacks.

Moments before, his spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said, "We stand in solidarity with the people of New Zealand and their government against this vicious act of hate."

MUSLIMS FACE 'MASS KILLING'

"With this attack, hostility towards Muslims that the world has been has been idly watching and even encouraging for some time, has gone beyond the boundaries of individual harassment to reach the level of mass killing," said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"If measures are not taken right away, news of other disasters will follow this one."

'DEPRAVED AND DESPICABLE'

"Murder of people at prayer, in their most holy and sacred place, is a depraved and despicable act. For people of all religions and of none, a red line has been crossed," Israeli President Reuven Rivlin wrote on Twitter.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also said Israel "mourns the wanton murder of innocent worshippers in Christchurch and condemns the brazen act of terror."

And Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas described it as a "horrific and heinous criminal act", the official WAFA news agency said.

CRUEL, CYNICAL ATTACK

"An attack against peaceful people gathering for prayer is shocking in its cruelty and cynicism," Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

"I hope that those involved will be severely punished," he said in a message to Arden.

READ: Christchurch mosque shootings: 49 dead, 20 injured in terrorist attack

'SICKENING ACT OF VIOLENCE'

British Prime Minister Theresa May offered deepest condolences "after the horrifying terrorist attack in Christchurch. My thoughts are with all of those affected by this sickening act of violence."

London's police service said it was "stepping up reassurance patrols around mosques and increasing engagement with communities of all faith, giving advice on how people and places can protect themselves."

In Australia, police in New South Wales said there were increasing patrols around mosques as a precaution.

"There is no ongoing or specific threat to any mosque or place of worship," police said.

'RACIST HATRED'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she mourned "with New Zealanders for their fellow citizens who were attacked and murdered out of racist hatred while peacefully praying in their mosques. We stand together against such acts of terrorism."

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said his thoughts were with those affected by the attacks of "fanatics and extremists who want to destroy our societies".

French President Emmanuel Macron echoed Merkel's message, condemning an "odious attack" and saying France "stands against any form of extremism".

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said the US-led alliance "stands with our friend and partner New Zealand in defence of our open societies and shared values".

'PAINFUL MEMORIES'

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg urged the international community to combat all forms of extremism after the Christchurch attacks, which revived painful memories of the 2011 Breivik mass killings in Norway.

"It's obviously very sad. It recalls painful memories of our own experience with Jul 22, the most difficult moment in the post-war period in Norway."

NOT IN MY DAUGHTER'S NAME

The mother of an 11-year-old Swedish girl killed in a 2017 militant attack expressed shock after the New Zealand gunman said one of his motivations was to avenge her death.

The attack "goes against everything Ebba stood for," Jeanette Akerlund told Swedish public television SVT.

Another person flagged by the Christchurch shooter was Luca Traini, an Italian jailed for 12 years over six non-fatal racist shootings in 2018, whose name was reportedly engraved on one of the guns.

But Traini's lawyer Gianluca Giulianelli told Italian radio his client "would certainly distance himself from this tragedy ... because he has ... a strong feeling of repentance for what he did."

'ODIOUS BUT NOT MY FAULT'

Writing on Twitter, Italy's far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini condemned the attacks but also said he pitied those who would blame him for the bloodshed.

"Massacre in #NewZealand, condemnation and utter contempt for the odious murderers, prayers for the innocent victims, compassion for those who say 'it's always Salvini's fault'," he tweeted.

Elsewhere, Dutch far-right MP Geert Wilders, who is known for his outspoken anti-Islam views, said such violence was never acceptable.

"These are shocking images. It is always sick to see people use violence, whoever you are and whatever you may think," he told public broadcaster NPO.

"You never use violence ... This is simply inhuman."

PRAYERS, SOLIDARITY WITH MUSLIMS

At Friday prayers in Jerusalem's Al Aqsa mosque, Grand Mufti Muhammad Ahmad, the city's highest Muslim authority, urged worshippers to hold special prayers for the victims of the attacks.

And in Rome, Pope Francis assured "all New Zealanders, and in particular the Muslim community, of his heartfelt solidarity," saying he was deeply saddened by such a "senseless acts of violence."

And Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, New Zealand's head of state, sent condolences to those touched by the "appalling events" in Christchurch, saying her "thoughts and prayers are with all New Zealanders."

'SHOCKING CRUELTY'

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, head of the world's largest Muslim country, said "we strongly condemn these kinds of violent acts," while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi denounced the bloodshed as a "dastardly attack."

"An attack against peaceful people gathering for prayer is shocking in its cruelty and cynicism," said Russian President Vladimir Putin, expressing hope that those responsible would "be severely punished."

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message of condolence to New Zealand, with the country denouncing the violence and extending "sincere sympathy to the bereaved families."

"Harrowing news from New Zealand overnight," said EU Council president Donald Tusk, denouncing it as a "brutal attack" but one which would never "diminish the tolerance and decency that New Zealand is famous for."

UN MINUTE OF SILENCE

"The murderous, Islamophobic, terrorist attack is yet another reminder that racism kills," said UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet as the Human Rights Council observed a minute of silence during a session on combating extremist ideologies.

UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi said bloodshed "motivated by hatred and fear of others" was "deeply shocking."

Source: AFP/CNA/ad/ec

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