JAKARTA: Political and Muslim 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.
Pakistan condemns mosque attack in New Zealand
“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, said 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 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.
In pictures: New Zealand mosque attack
“We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims and the people of New Zealand.”
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman condemned what he called a “racist and fascist” attack.
We strongly condemn the fascist terrorist attack in #ChristChurch.
May Allah have mercy on those who lost their lives today.
This cowardly act shows how anti-Muslim rhetoric and hatred leads to murderous acts.
The world must break its silence over Islamophobic hatred.
— Ibrahim Kalin (@ikalin1) March 15, 2019
The founder of India’s All India Muslim Personal Board, a non-government body of scholars, Kamal Faruqui, said the attack was “highly condemnable”.
“An anti-Muslim virus is spreading across the world,” he said. “People of all religions should be very worried.”
Afghanistan’s ambassador to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, Wahidullah Waissi, said on Twitter three Afghans had been wounded.
I am receiving terrible news out of Christchurch mosques’ shootings. My thoughts are with the family of an Afghan origin who‘s been shot and killed at this heinous incident and with three other Afghans who are injured. Watching this closely as the situation is still unfolding.
— Wahidullah Waissi (@WahidWaissi) March 15, 2019
Ordinary people 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.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, said many of those caught up in the shootings may have been migrants and refugees.
What has happened in Christchurch is an extraordinary act of unprecedented violence. It has no place in New Zealand. Many of those affected will be members of our migrant communities – New Zealand is their home – they are us.
— Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern) March 15, 2019