Police increasing presence at local GTA mosques and places of worship

Mar 15 2019, 3:45 pm

There will be a larger police presence at local mosques and places of worship in the GTA.

While Canada’s threat level remains unchanged following the terrorist attack at mosques in New Zealand that left 49 dead and 48 more injured, 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.”

Peel Regional Police will be doing the same as well.

Chris McCord, Chief of Police in Peel, said that he’s been in contact with members of the Muslim community in the area.

“Our Equity and Inclusion Bureau and Community Mobilization Teams will be connecting with the various leaders at our local mosques and other places of worship, to check on their well-being and work to resolve any concerns they may have,” said McCord, in a statement. “Additionally, uniform officers and specialty units will be increasing their patrols and presence at places of worship within our region.”

Police are asking that members of the community remain attentive and vigilant and report anything they feel is suspicious or out of the ordinary.

Mayor John Tory said he’s deeply saddened by the attack.

“I am deeply saddened by the terror attack in New Zealand and stand with our Muslim community to condemn this hate-fuelled violence,” he said. “On behalf of all Torontonians, we send condolences to the families and friends of those killed in Christchurch and those injured in this heinous attack.”

The Toronto sign will be dimmed to mourn the victims this evening.

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.

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, on Twitter. “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.”