Islamic Center of Southern California via icscblog.org.

In response to mass shootings at two mosques in New Zealand, the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said additional patrols would be deployed outside mosques across the region even though there is no known threat to the Southland.

The death toll rose to 49 and as many as four people were in custody, one of whom has been charged with murder, following the shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, a major city on New Zealand’s South Island, according to news accounts.

“The Los Angeles Police Department continues to monitor the events in New Zealand closely and the thoughts and prayers of the men and women of the LAPD go out to everyone affected by this horrific incident,” according to a statement.

The shootings appear to be an isolated incident and although there was “no apparent threat to Los Angeles, out of an abundance of caution we will be adding patrols around mosques here in the city.”

“It is critically important that anytime anyone observes concerning behavior or potential criminal acts, they notify authorities as soon as possible,” according to the statement, which urged people “to stay vigilant and be aware of your surroundings.”

“As always, the LAPD is committed to keeping all our citizens safe,” the statement said.

The LASD announced Sheriff Alex Villanueva reached out to the New Zealand Consul General, as well as Muslim faith leaders throughout the county to express his condolences.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of New Zealand as they work to deal with the challenging and troubling circumstances created by these horrific attacks,” the department said in a statement. “Our level of vigilance is increased at Mosques and Muslim cultural centers across the County of Los Angeles.”

Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted: “The vile and cowardly acts of violence in New Zealand sicken people in Los Angeles and around the world. Muslims and all people of faith should feel safe in their places of worship, and our thoughts are with the families of the victims.”

“We pray for the victims of the mass shootings that occurred on Friday, March 15 at Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Mosque and stand in solidarity with the New Zealand Muslim community as they go through this tragedy,” the Muslim Public Affairs Council said in a statement Friday. “The victims of this act of mass violence were innocent people gathered for their congregational prayers, just as those in Quebec, Pittsburgh and Charleston were.

“This type of violence is a direct result of individuals and politicians who exploit social divisions in order to foment fear and hate. Violence of this kind is unacceptable in any country and should be collectively rejected. Nobody should be made to fear to practice their faith or attend their place of worship.

“As we work together to meet the demand of this moment, we call on our elected officials to use their platforms to stand together with the American Muslim community, and to stand tall against hate speech. We must deal with the rise of white nationalist terrorism and the threat it poses to our national and human security.”

The Islamic Center of Southern California planned to offer a prayer in absentia for the victims Friday at its Vermont Avenue location. Omar Ricci, board chair at the center, grieved for the lost lives Friday, but also tried to link the attack to the political climate in the United States.

“When they were vulnerable, when they were least expecting it, they were attacked. And it is in that moment that 49 of our brothers and sisters’ humanity lost their earthly lives,” Ricci said.

“(As Muslims,) we believe that those who perished are now in paradise and God knows best. By now, the attackers and their motives are clear: hate of Islam, hate of immigrants, pursuit of white supremacy, manifested in terror and murder. Today, we have seen evil on Earth, evil that was premeditated and inspired. The manifesto of the terrorists make that fact abundantly clear. And the fact that these terrorists drew inspiration from the white supremacist movement here in the United States, who hailed our president, Donald Trump, should be yet another reason for us, as Americans, to have chills down our spine. What is our country becoming, and what is it exporting abroad?”

“We call upon President Trump to rescind his statement that Islam hates us.”

Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson expressed sympathy for the victims.

“We are saddened and disgusted by the horrific acts committed yesterday in New Zealand,” Wesson said. “We in Los Angeles stand in solidarity with New Zealand and the Muslim Community in the face of hatred, cruelty, and blatant Islamophobia.”

Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the The Simon Wiesenthal Center, issued the following statement:

“The Simon Wiesenthal Center expresses its outrage over the horrific attack against Muslims attending a mosque in New Zealand. The center condemns this act of terrorism, which took the lives of 49 innocent people. We are committed to confront bigots and haters wherever they are. This kind of fanaticism cannot be tolerated irrespective of one’s faith, creed or place or origin. We express our sincere condolences to the community and families of the victims.”

Another expression of support was planned for 6:30 p.m. in Orange County, where an interfaith vigil will be held at the Islamic Institute of Orange County, 1220 N. State College Blvd.

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