Police increase presence at Saskatoon mosques after New Zealand shooting
The Saskatoon Police Service has increased its presence at five mosques in the city.
Police said it is in response to the deadly mass shootings in Christchurch, NZ.
The mass shootings at two mosques that took place Friday afternoon left 49 people dead and another 48 injured.
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Saskatoon police said while there is no information to suggest a similar threat exists in the city, police want to ensure they address concerns within Saskatoon’s Muslim community.
The increased presence will be particularly noticeable during prayer times, police said.
On Friday afternoon, Saskatoon police Chief Troy Cooper visited the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan Saskatoon chapter mosque.
Following Friday prayers, Hanan Elbardouh, said when she heard about the attack she felt sick to her stomach.
“As I prayed today, I thought this could be me, or my grandchild, or my daughter,” Elbardouh said.
“I felt some fear within community members, but it was comforting to see that the chief of police was here supporting us. We’ve been receiving lots of phone calls and messages from different non-Muslim congregations and that makes us feel supported.”
Premier Scott Moe expressed his condolences to those impacted in New Zealand, as well as the local Muslim community.
“There’s no place for Islamophobia. There’s no place for racism or actions like this in our province, in our nation, or in this world and I condemn those actions,” Moe said.
WATCH BELOW: New Zealand mosque shootings shatter sense of security: NCCM
The executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, Ihsaan Gardee, was in Saskatoon to speak at a panel discussion on hate speech on Thursday night.
He met with Cooper and Mayor Charlie Clark, before attending prayers on Friday in Saskatoon.
“It’s something that I think has shattered the sense of security of Muslims, certainly in New Zealand, and in Australia and nearby, as well around the world. Our message to communities here in Canada is to review the security measures that they have in place,” Gardee said.
Gardee said the nonstop messages of support from other Canadians have been “extremely heartening and means the world.”
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