A number of churches opened their doors Friday to the families of victims killed or wounded and to all those affected by a deadly terrorist attack in New Zealand.
Churches of varied faiths welcomed Muslims and all persons after authorities directed mosques to close following Friday’s massacre. The alleged gunman, 28-year-old Australian man Brenton Tarrant, attacked two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 49 people and wounding numerous others.
Te Atatū Baptist Church in Auckland, New Zealand opened its arms to Muslims in a Friday Facebook post.
St. Paul’s Cathedral in London welcomed persons of all faiths to come to the place of worship.
At our services today we will offer prayers for those affected by the shootings in New Zealand and for Muslim communities. All are welcome to join us.
As always, St Dunstan’s Chapel is available for private prayer and reflection throughout the day. pic.twitter.com/8BvUGAjZ0r
— St Paul’s Cathedral (@StPaulsLondon) March 15, 2019
The Archbishop of Canterbury also called for Christians to attend Friday mosque with their Muslim compatriots in a rejection of hatred.
— Archbishop of Canterbury (@JustinWelby) March 15, 2019
Flowers and messages of support are flooding into mosques, according to CNN.
The New Zealand Council of Victim Support Groups started a crowdfunding effort for the victims of Friday’s attack. The fund has raised nearly $400,000.
Tarrant spelled out the reasons for his vicious attack in a 74-page manifesto that cites a number of terrorist attacks committed by Islamic terrorists and points to a history of aggression by Muslims. Tarrant wrote that the attack is “revenge for the enslavement of millions of Europeans taken from their lands by the Islamic slavers,” according to the manifesto.
The shooter also cited the death of 11-year-old Ebba Akerlund multiple times as justification for his own attack, The Daily Beast reported. Akerlund was killed after Uzbekistan asylum-seeker, Rakhmat Akilov, drove a stolen beer truck through a crowd in Stockholm. The attack killed five and injured 14, according to The Associated Press.
Other white supremacist groups have used the Akerlund’s name to justify violence.
Tarrant is in custody and has been charged with murder, according to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
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