This morning, Britons awoke to the shocking news that gunmen had opened fire on Muslim worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, a country widely regarded as one of the safest countries on Earth.
At the time of writing, the death toll stands at 49. Our prayers go out to the victims and their families.
In days to come, much thought will, quite rightly, be given to how such attacks can be dealt with more rapidly, or intercepted before they take place, and how to deal with the evil ideology that appears to have motivated the attacker or attackers.
However, today is a day for mourning, and for quiet reflection on how such unspeakable horrors can emerge from nowhere.
We thank our police force for the extra measures taken today to reassure Muslim worshippers in the UK, and the many politicians and religious leaders who have spoken out following the massacre. If the killers sought to divide Muslims and non-Muslims, they have failed and will continue to fail.
We have embedded below tweets issued this morning by the Prime Minister, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Chief Rabbi.
“On behalf of the UK, my deepest condolences to the people of New Zealand after the horrifying terrorist attack in Christchurch. My thoughts are with all of those affected by this sickening act of violence.” – PM @theresa_may
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) March 15, 2019
Profound sympathy for the victims and relatives of the New Zealand terrorism. Let all Christians pray for healing of people, interfaith relations and New Zealand itself. Jesus calls us to welcome strangers and love our neighbour however different.
— Archbishop of Canterbury (@JustinWelby) March 15, 2019
There can be few acts of greater evil than the massacre of peaceful people at prayer. The attacks in New Zealand were terrorism of the most despicable kind, callously planned & motivated by the scourge of islamophobia. The victims & their families are in our hearts & our prayers.
— Chief Rabbi Mirvis (@chiefrabbi) March 15, 2019
Condolences letter to New Zealand High Commissioner
The CMF Chairman subsequently sent a letter of condolences to the High Commissioner, which is reproduced below:
18 March 2019
The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae GNZM, QSO, KStJ
High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
New Zealand High Commission
Dear Sir Jerry
TERRORIST ATTACK IN CHRISTCHURCH
Like many, I have always regarded New Zealand as one of the safest countries on Earth. While I have never been there, my youngest daughter has visited your country twice, most recently spending two months there in December and January.
This made it particularly shocking when I heard the news of the horrific murderous attack on Muslim worshippers carried out during Friday prayers in Christchurch.
On behalf of the Conservative Muslim Forum, I am writing to thank you for the manner in which your government has dealt with this awful tragedy. Please could you also convey our condolences and prayers to the bereaved and injured in your country.
Please could you also convey my admiration to your Prime Minister for her unequivocal words in the aftermath of the tragedy. I am conscious of how traumatic it must have been for her personally, given that she is the mother of a 9-month old baby.