49 people have been killed in the terror attack
A "right-wing extremist" armed with semi-automatic weapons rampaged through two mosques in the quiet New Zealand city of Christchurch during afternoon prayers Friday, killing 49 worshippers and wounding dozens more.
Political and Islamic leaders across Asia expressed their disgust at the deadly shooting at two mosques in New Zealand as some revealed their citizens had been caught up in the bloodshed.
The timing of the shootings in the city of Christchurch, during Friday prayers, and the posting on social media of what appeared to be live, point-of-view video footage of the assault by a gunman added to the distress of many, reports Arab News.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan blamed the New Zealand attacks on rising Islam phobia after 2001's September 11 attacks.
"Shocked and strongly condemn the Christchurch, New Zealand, terrorist attack on mosques. This reaffirms what we have always maintained: that terrorism does not have a religion. Prayers go to the victims and their families," he tweeted.
"I blame these increasing terror attacks on the current Islam phobia post-9/11 where Islam & 1.3 billion Muslims have collectively been blamed for any act of terror by a Muslim. This has been done deliberately to also demonize legitimate Muslim political struggles," he added.
Pakistan's foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal condemned the incident on social media, using the hashtag #pakistanagainstterror.
I blame these increasing terror attacks on the current Islamophobia post-9/11 where Islam & 1.3 bn Muslims have collectively been blamed for any act of terror by a Muslim. This has been done deliberately to also demonize legitimate Muslim political struggles. https://t.co/5bBREoayLz— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) March 15, 2019
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the deadly attack on the mosques, saying it illustrated the growing hostility towards Islam "idly" watched by the world.
"With this attack, hostility towards Islam, that the world has been idly watching and even encouraging for some time, has gone beyond individual harassment to reach the level of mass killing," Erdogan said at the funeral of a former Turkish minister.
"It is clear that the understanding represented by the killer that also targets our country, our people and myself, has started to take over Western societies like a cancer."
Erdogan's spokesman separately condemned what he called a "racist and fascist" attack.
"This attack shows the point which hostility to Islam and enmity to Muslims has reached," Ibrahim Kalin wrote on Twitter.
"We have seen many times Islam phobic discourse against Islam and Muslims turning into a perverse and murderous ideology. The world must raise its voice against such discourse and must say stop to Islam phobic fascist terrorism," he said.
The founder of India's All India Muslim Personal Board, a non-government body of scholars, Kamal Faruqui, said the attack was "highly condemnable."
"An anti-Muslim virus is spreading across the world," he told Reuters.
"People of all religions should be very worried."
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blamed "Western hypocrisy" for the attacks on two mosques in New Zealand that killed at least 49 worshippers and wounded dozens during Friday prayers.
"Western hypocrisy of defending demonization of Muslims as 'freedom of expression' MUST end," Zarif tweeted.
"Impunity in Western 'democracies' to promote bigotry leads to this," the tweet read.
Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi earlier "strongly condemned the inhuman and savage" attacks and urged New Zealand's government to punish "the perpetrators without any reservations."
Impunity in Western "democracies" to promote bigotry leads to this:— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) March 15, 2019
-Israeli thugs enter mosque in Palestine to insult Muslims;
-Terrorists in NZ livestream their murder of 49 Muslims.
Western hypocrisy of defending demonization of Muslims as "freedom of expression" MUST end pic.twitter.com/WcxvtxpDxH
The grand imam of Egypt's famed Al-Azhar mosque and university has condemned a mass shooting targeting mosques in New Zealand on Friday as a "horrific terrorist attack."
"This horrific terrorist attack is a serious indicator of the consequences of rising rhetoric of hatred and xenophobia and the spread of Islam phobia" in countries "known for the coexistence of their inhabitants", said Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb.
The grand imam, who heads Egypt's most revered centre of Sunni Islamic learning, joined Pope Francis last month in the United Arab Emirates to call for peaceful coexistence among religions.
The Sunni leader urged Western states to "increase efforts to support the values of tolerance and coexistence" within their societies.
The Christchurch attacks have sparked global revulsion, with leaders around the world calling for solidarity with Muslim communities.
Indonesian President Joko Widoyo, head of the world's largest Muslim country, said "we strongly condemn these kind of violent acts."
Indonesia, the world's biggest Muslim-majority country, strongly condemned the shooting as authorities were checking on whether any of its citizens were victims.
"The government and the people of Indonesia convey deep condolences to the victims and their families," Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said in a statement.
She was earlier cited by media as saying six Indonesians had been inside the mosque when the attack occurred, with three managing to escape and three still unaccounted for.
Indonesia's ambassador to New Zealand, Tantowi Yahya, told Reuters inquiries were being made as to whether Indonesians were caught up in the attack. There are 331 Indonesians in Christchurch, including 134 students, the foreign ministry said.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he hoped New Zealand "will arrest these terrorists and do the necessary under the law of the country."
In Muslim-majority Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim, the leader of the biggest party in its ruling coalition, said one Malaysian had been wounded in the attack he described as a "black tragedy facing humanity and universal peace."
"I am deeply saddened by this uncivilised act, which goes against humanistic values and took the lives of civilians," he said in a statement.
"We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims and the people of New Zealand."
Afghanistan's ambassador to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, Wahidullah Waissi, said on Twitter three Afghans had been wounded.
"My thoughts are with the family of Afghan origin who've been shot and killed at this heinous incident."
An official source at the Saudi Foreign Ministry condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attack that took place in New Zealand.
The source reiterated Saudi Arabia's condemnation of terrorism in all its forms, regardless of its source, and that terrorism has no religion and no homeland. He stressed the kingdom's position that religions should be respected.
Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs, tweeted “heartfelt condolences” to New Zealand on Friday.
Gargash wrote: “Our collective work against violence & hate must continue with renewed vigor. Our thoughts & prayers are with the families of the victims.”
Jordanian State Minister for Media Affairs Jumana Gneimat emphasized the country’s “rejection of terrorism and the assault of those living in peace and places of worship.”