Edmonton police patrolling local mosques during Friday prayers: Alberta Muslim council
The Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council (AMPAC) posted on Facebook while there is no known threat, Edmonton police would be patrolling local mosques during Friday prayers, after the massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Forty-nine people were killed and dozens were hurt at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday.
One man in his late 20s was charged with murder in connection with the incidents, the commissioner of the New Zealand Police said.
Three people were arrested — one of them born in Australia — after an active shooter situation led to “significant” fatalities at the mosques during Friday prayers. Police said a fourth person was arrested on Friday but that was “not related to these events.”
WATCH BELOW: Calgarians are speaking out against a massacre at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand that left dozens of people dead and injured. Doug Vaessen has details.
Police are still trying to determine how the other two who were taken into custody are linked to the shooting.
“This is an unfortunate reality that as a society, as a community we need to come to terms with, and we need to figure out how do we eradicate this unacceptable behaviour and these unacceptable views that a growing number of people within our community have,” AMPAC communications vice president Adil Hasan said.
AMPAC’s Facebook post included a message from Edmonton Police Service Supt. Chad Tawfik to the council, confirming police officers would be monitoring local mosques Friday morning.
“I have requested that divisional patrols pay particular attention to the various mosque locations in Edmonton,” Tawfik’s message read.
“I will also be encouraging the divisional commanders to have our members attend and/or drive by in conjunction with Friday prayers.
“This is not due to any known local concern but rather, proactive patrols to hopefully reduce concerns that people may feel.”
Edmonton police released a statement on Friday which said the service “is sensitive to how the senseless acts in New Zealand can impact our local community and their perception of safety.”
LISTEN BELOW: Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council communications vice president Adil Hasan discusses the terrorist attack in New Zealand that left 49 people dead.
Hasan said the organization had conversations with many members of Alberta’s Muslim community following the New Zealand massacre.
“The sentiment is the same, that the community is strong and resilient and understands and believes that the vast majority of Albertans are peace loving and tolerant and respect the rule of law and respect that diversity is an essential core of our value system that we have here in Canada,” Hasan said.
However, in its Facebook post, AMPAC also said there is a problem with Islamophobic alt-right groups in Alberta.
“The Soldiers of Odin, and the III% continue to operate unimpeded in our streets,” the Facebook post read. “We will continue to work to ensure that real action is taken to deal with these hateful organizations.”
Hasan said more needs to be done to “eradicate” the hateful views held by a growing number of people.
“The fact this far right sentiment is being allowed to fester and to grow is completely unacceptable and I think we need to see some concrete action from our policy makers at the local level, at the provincial level and federal level as well,” he said.
Hasan believes providing Edmonton police with more tools to deal with hate crimes around the city is one step that needs to be taken.
“Right now the legislation is such that it severely restricts their ability in how they charge someone under a hate crime offence, and the current legislation is very very narrow in terms of how they can move forward with that.”
WATCH BELOW: Hundreds attended a vigil in Sydney on Saturday for victims of the Christchurch shooting in which at least 49 people were killed at two New Zealand mosques.
Edmonton’s Al Rashid Mosque issued a statement Friday, saying its prayers and thoughts go out to the families of those killed in the New Zealand attacks.
“Al Rashid Mosque and the Muslim community in Edmonton are profoundly shocked and saddened by the outrageous terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand during Friday worship services.
“We stand in solidarity with Muslims in New Zealand and all around the world.”
Al Rashid Mosque invited the community to join prayers at 2:15 p.m. Friday and said it would be open for support visits from 5 – 7 p.m.
On Twitter, Alberta politicians condemned the attacks and expressed support for those who were impacted.
AMPAC’s mandate is to create engagement and anti-racism efforts in Alberta, as well as be a voice for the Muslim community in the province.
WATCH BELOW: Christchurch shooting: Jacinda Ardern sends message to Muslim community
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