Cork Muslims prayed for the victims and families of the New Zealand terrorist attack as the news of the tragedy broke yesterday.
At least 49 people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers in an attack broadcast in a horrifying live video by an immigrant-hating white nationalist wielding at least two rifles.
Director of the Shandon Street Mosque in Cork, Dr Fergal Radwan said that a number of the regular attendees at the place of worship asked for a Garda presence to be visible at the door of the centre as they prayed, due to fear and apprehension of a similar incident. However, Dr Radwan said that he did not feel this precaution was necessary.
Dr Radwan said the community was shocked and upset at the news and said that they prayed together and asked God to have mercy on the victims and their families.
“To hear about these innocent people being killed, women and children, for no reason. It is very upsetting and New Zealand is the last place you would expect something like this to happen,” Dr Radwan said.
The Director of the Shandon Street Mosque said that the centre would be continuing to practice as normal and would not be altering their routines in any way following the terrorist attack in New Zealand.
Despite this, Dr Radwan said that he did come in early to the Mosque before prayer yesterday to ensure everything ran smoothly and stayed late to be available to anyone who might need him.
According to Dr Radwan the two centres in Cork, Shandon Street and Tramore Road, were packed yesterday as Muslims across the rebel county prayed for the individuals affected by the New Zealand terrorist attack.
“We thought that perhaps the centre would be a little empty, due to the fears some people have about a similar incident occurring here, but the Mosques were full.”
Head of Community Policing on the Southside of the city Sergeant Stewart Philpott said a member of the Gardaí called to the Tramore Road Mosque in Togher yesterday to check in and to be available to assist in any way possible to the Muslim community.
“The local community Garda offered support and condolences to the Muslim people here in Cork,” Sgt Philpott said.
“We are in regular contact with the centres anyway, we have ethnic liaison officers which touch base routinely with ethnic groups and there is good communication between the two organisations.”
In Christchurch, one man was arrested and charged with murder, and two other armed suspects were taken into custody while police tried to determine what role they played in the attack.