U.S. mosques enhance security after New Zealand attack

New York: In the wake of the terrorist attack in New Zealand, mosques around the United States beefed up security measures for Friday prayers. A gunman shot dead 49 people and wounded more than 40 at two New Zealand mosques. Though there was no sign of any specific threat, police in New York and other cities said they were stepping up patrols at mosques and other places of worship as a precaution.

Speaking at a Washington news conference, Nihad Awad, head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), urged Muslims who would be praying at the more than 3,000 mosques in the United States to “not abandon your mosques.”

As reported by Reuters, CAIR, the largest Muslim rights group in the United States, said Muslims and other minority groups had faced a surge in bigotry since Donald Trump won the 2016 U.S. presidential election. A CAIR statement blamed this in part on what it described as “Islamophobic, white supremacist and racist Trump administration policies and appointments.”

Nihad Awad pointed out that the accused gunman’s manifesto posted online praised Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.”