Canada’s threat level remains unchanged following the terrorist attack in New Zealand that left 49 dead and 48 more injured.
According to New Zealand Police, the attacks took place at two different mosques on Friday, at which time Muslims are gathered for weekly prayers. Police have charged a 28-year-old man with murder, and have two others in custody.
“Canada is closely following the appalling terrorist attack in New Zealand,” said Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. “At this time there is no known nexus to Canada and Canada’s threat level remains unchanged at ‘medium.'”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the attack “absolutely appalling.”
“Attacking people during prayers is absolutely appalling, and Canada strongly condemns today’s shootings in New Zealand,” said the PM. “Our thoughts and hearts go out to the victims and their families, and we join New Zealanders and Muslim communities around the world in grieving.”
The attack was allegedly targeting migrant communities in Christchurch, New Zealand.
“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,” said New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. “The person who has committed this violent act has no place here.”
In a media address, Ardern said that “this can only be described as a terrorist attack.”
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The shooter allegedly live-streamed the attack on social media, and the video and images circulated all platforms since.
Facebook said that police alerted them to the live stream, which was removed soon after. The social media giant also said it removed any praise or support for the crime and the shooter/s.
“We will continue working directly with New Zealand Police as their response and investigation continues,” said Mia Garlick, Facebook New Zealand.
Being Friday in Canada, Muslims across communities will be heading to Friday prayer later today.
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said that police officers will be patrolling today, visiting mosques and other places of worship “to ensure everyone’s safety.”
In 2017, a Quebec City mosque shooting left six people dead. The shooter, Alexandre Bissonnette, was recently sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 40 years.
“Far too often, Muslims suffer unimaginable loss and pain in the places where they should feel safest,” said Trudeau, in a statement on Friday. “Canada remembers too well the sorrow we felt when a senseless attack on the Centre culturel islamique de Québec in Ste-Foy claimed the lives of many innocent people gathered in prayer.”
The Prime Minister said that hate has no place anywhere.
“We must all confront Islamophobia and work to create a world in which all people—no matter their faith, where they live, or where they were born—can feel safe and secure.”