Local mosques to have bigger police presence following mass shooting in New Zealand

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Islamic Center is stepping up security after 49 people were killed during shootings at two mosques in central Christchurch, New Zealand.

Officials said the suspect, 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant, is a white extremist.

After a service at a Mosque in Cordova, a man from New Zealand went up to the front door to express his condolences to a religious leader.

“I just felt the need to come and convey my condolences and people have a right to practice their faith in peace,” said Tony Falds.

Falds is originally from New Zealand and moved to Memphis years ago.

His gesture meant a lot to Memphis Islamic Center Resident Scholar Yasir Qadhi.

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“I really appreciate you coming down here, I know the love you feel is genuine and know whatever happened there represents that one person – it has nothing to do with you or your country,” said Qadhi. “We are all together and we shall overcome that hatred with our love and unity.”

Qhadi said his message during worship centered around peace.

“We need to overcome this stereotype that any one community is more prone to violence than the other,” said Qadhi.

He explained the mosque will have more security for the next few weeks just in case. He said the main focus is speaking about love and not hate.

“We cannot allow the message of hate to divide us. We can’t allow the rhetoric, the demonization, the stigmatization of faith communities and minorities to go unchecked,” said Qadhi.

Qadhi said he would not allow members of the mosque to have guns inside during service. Instead, he plans on having more law enforcement outside.