Security at mosques across the US was beefed up on Friday following the deadly mass shootings at two mosques in New Zealand's Christchurch city which killed 49 people.
Law enforcement officials and political leaders condemned the terror attacks and assured the Muslim community that they would be protected while they continue to practice their faith freely, The New York Times reported.
Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said that Muslims across the world were united against hate speech, adding that the attacks were a part of the rising incidents of intolerance in the US and abroad.
"We are united against hate speech that sees immigrants as invaders. One should not tolerate hate speech because hate speech leads to violence. Now we are looking at the result of hate speech," he said.
In New York and other major cities in the country, security was beefed up around mosques. New York city mayor Mayor Bill de Blasio informed that police presence was increased throughout the city "out of an abundance of caution."
"New Yorkers heading to prayer can be confident that their city will protect them," he said.
In Pittsburgh, law enforcement personnel have been in contact with local Islamic leaders and increased patrols at mosques and other surrounding areas.
In St. Paul, Minnesota's capital, which houses a large Muslim community, the police assured the people that they "would do everything possible" to keep them safe and protected.
"We want our Muslim family members, friends and neighbours to know that we'll do everything possible to keep you safe and secure in the city we share," the city's police department wrote on their Twitter handle.
In the worst ever terror attack in New Zealand, multiple gunmen carried out indiscriminate shootings at two mosques in Christchurch during the Friday prayers, leaving 49 people dead and at least 48 wounded, besides giving a scare to the Bangladesh cricket team which had a narrow escape.
Using automatic weapons, the gunmen, four of whom have been taken into custody, launched a "well-planned" attack on the mosques when devotees had assembled for the weekly prayers, local media reported.
Members of the Bangladesh cricket team, who were in New Zealand for the third Test match with the hosts, had a narrow escape as they were barred from getting off their bus when they arrived to offer prayers at the Al Noor mosque which was attacked. Meanwhile, the Test scheduled to start on Saturday was cancelled with immediate effect.
Several guns have been recovered from both mosques, while, two explosive devices were found on two vehicles at the scene, one of which was defused, the police confirmed.
Christchurch hospital alone is currently treating 48 people, from young children to adults, with gunshot wounds.
Strongly condemning the terror attacks, US President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter: "My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques. The US stands by New Zealand for anything we can do.
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