Muslims in St. John’s who attended Friday prayers received support at the Masjid-an-Noor Mosque on Torbay Road and from the community as they mourned the loss of those half a world away.
“Today is another sad day, not only for Muslims, but for all those who bind together in humanity,” Haseen Khan, treasurer for the Muslim Association of Newfoundland and Labrador and a member of MANAL’s Friday imams team, said Friday in his sermon at the Masjid-an-Noor Mosque in St. John’s. “Two mosques in New Zealand are attacked by a gunman who brutally killed 49 Muslims and injured many others while they were offering their Friday prayers.
“The Muslim Association of Newfoundland and Labrador stands together in solidarity with all those who are affected by this tragedy. Our prayers are with the victims and their families,” Khan said.
A man suspected in at least one of the shootings that killed at least 49 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, appeared briefly in court Friday.
Two armed guards brought Brenton Tarrant into court. He showed no expression as District Court Judge Paul Kellar read one charge of murder to him.
The court appearance lasted only about a minute and he was led back out in handcuffs. He was ordered to return to court again April 5.
After Tarrant left, the judge said that while “there is one charge of murder brought at the moment, it is reasonable to assume that there will be others.”
The gunman posted a 74-page manifesto on social media in which he identified himself as Tarrant and said he was a 28-year-old Australian and white supremacist who was out to avenge attacks in Europe perpetrated by Muslims.
It was not the first time worshippers have been murdered in a mosque. A shooting at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, a mosque in the Sainte-Foy neighbourhood of Quebec City, took six lives on the evening of Jan. 29, 2017.
“Especially since the Quebec mosque shooting, Canadian Muslims had been increasingly concerned with the rise of Islamophobia at home,” Khan said.
“Now, we are even more deeply shocked and disturbed to see the ease and the speed with which Islamophobic violence is spreading, without sparing even the most peaceful communities beyond Canada.
“It is now evident that no place is immune to such hatred. We pray that our province will continue to be one of the safest. In that context, we thank our fellow Newfoundlanders and Labradorians for their outpouring of love and solidarity during this difficult time.”
“Thanks to all those who sent letters and emails of support, left beautiful bouquets at the door of our local mosque and joined us today during our Friday prayer. MANAL would like to express its gratitude to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador for lowering flags in memory of victims of today's tragedy.”
In a Friday afternoon news release, Premier Dwight Ball announced flags would be lowered at Confederation Building.
“The Canadian, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Union Jack flags at Confederation Building will fly at half-mast as this government stands in solidarity with other world leaders to honour those who were lost and injured in the mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand,” the news release stated. “This kind of violence is unacceptable. Out of respect, and as a symbol of sorrow, the flags will remain lowered until sunrise (Saturday).”
With files from The Associated Press