Police step up security at UK mosques after New Zealand massacre as Sadiq Khan says London ‘stands in solidarity’ with Christchurch
- Islamic leader tells of fears religious centres in the UK may be targeted
- Police to step up patrols around mosques in the wake of New Zealand attack
- Sadiq Khan attends East London Mosque and says city stands with Christchurch
UK police are stepping up patrols around mosques following the attack in New Zealand.
Officers will be deployed to provide reassurance and advice on protective security as Muslims attend Friday prayers around the country today.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan visited the East London Mosque today and said the British capital ‘stood in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in New Zealand’.
Londoners stand in solidarity with Christchurch as they attend a vigil at the East London Mosque
Police stepped out their patrols outside mosques in the capital today, such as Finsbury Park, pictured
At least 49 people have been killed in mass shootings at two mosques in New Zealand, in an attack broadcast in horrifying live video by an heavily-armed white nationalist.
Mr Khan, who was himself named in a twisted document posted online by the shooter Brenton Tarrant, said Muslims in London feeling ‘vulnerable’ and frightened.
He said: ‘We may be more than 11,000 miles away from Christchurch in New Zealand but we feel the ripples of hatred, we feel the ripples of fear and we feel the ripples of sorrow of our brothers and sisters in Christchurch.’
He added he wanted to reassure all Muslims and everyone going to a place of worship today, and over the course of the next few days, that they will be seeing increased policing.
Security and police stand guard near the Finsbury Mosque during prayers in the capital today
The Met Police said it is stepping up patrols outside the capital’s mosques today
‘The thoughts and prayers of every decent Londoner are with those in Christchurch in New Zealand who have lost their lives.
‘We stand in solidarity with the people of Christchurch. And we want to be a beacon to the rest of the world to show that whether you’re a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, whether you’re a member of an organised faith or not. Here in London you are welcome. London is open,’ he said.
Mohammed Khozbar, chairman of Finsbury Park Mosque, said: ‘From the Muslim community itself, I can say we are resilient and we will not be intimidated by what happened and we will continue with our lives as normal.
‘Of course we will take extra precaution and safety, but we will not let these people make us live in fear – like we are not safe in our country.’
Home Secretary Sajid Javid will hold talks with anti-terrorism chiefs and security officials to discuss possible further measures to protect mosques in the UK.
Religious leaders of all faiths came together as Chief Imam Abdul Qayum spoke at the event
A vigil was held at the mosque in Whitechapel following the atrocity in New Zealand
London mayor Sadiq Khan attends a vigil at East London Mosque this afternoon
The Met’s Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, head of national counter-terror policing, said: ‘Today we will be stepping up reassurance patrols around mosques and increasing engagement with communities of all faith, giving advice on how people and places can protect themselves.’
Security minister Ben Wallace told the House of Commons that later that he and the Home Secretary would be speaking with police counter-terrorism leaders and security services ‘to discuss what further measures we can take to protect our mosques and our communities from any threats here in the United Kingdom’.
West Midlands Assistant Chief Constable Matt Ward said his officers will also be at key religious buildings to reassure local people.