Rochdale Town Hall lowers flags following New Zealand terrorist shootings

Date published: 15 March 2019

Flags outside Rochdale Town Hall are being flown at half-mast today (Friday 15 March) due to a terrorist attack in New Zealand which killed 49 people.

At least 20 other people were wounded in the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch. Footage of the horrific attack was live-streamed on social media via the gunman’s head camera.

A man in his late 20s has been charged with murder, according to reports.

In light of the attacks, Mayor Mohammed Zaman said it was imperative that people stand together.

He said: “I was very sad to learn of the atrocities at the mosques in New Zealand. We need to unite in faith, whatever our belief. They try to sabotage peace and divide us. Our sympathies and prayers go to those who are suffering. God bless their souls.”

Rochdale Council of Mosques have released a statement about the incident, saying: “We are all shocked with this news breaking from New Zealand this morning, where callous shootings have left scores dead or injured. 

“With heavy hearts, we express our deepest condolences to all victims, and everyone affected by the horrific terrorist attack at Mosques in New Zealand. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends who lost their loved ones in this barbaric act.

“Terrorists have no religion, and this attack isn’t just an attack on Muslims but people of all faiths and none. The people killed and injured were going about their usual lives and in worship. 

“An attack on a sacred place where people go to seek forgiveness, pray for themselves and others is totally cowardice.

“We stand together with the people of Christchurch at this very difficult time and mosques in Rochdale and indeed across the world will be praying for them during Friday Jummah prayers.

“The Rochdale Council of Mosques remains resolute in our opposition to hatred and extremism and committed to working with authorities and our partners to provide the support necessary to challenge those who seek to divide us.”

Leader of the council, Councillor Allen Brett said: “These were appalling and sickening acts of unfathomable malice carried out by a coward who targeted innocent people in the most appalling way imaginable.

“To those affected, I send my deepest condolences and a message of solidarity – peaceful and tolerant people of the world will never, ever succumb to terror.”

Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson from Greater Manchester Police said: “The events which happened overnight in New Zealand are saddening and truly shocking, made worse, if it could be, by the targeting of a specific part of the community.

“Given how shocking this is people will understandably be very upset and perhaps worried, especially amongst our Muslim communities, and we will be working hard to reassure them and communities of all faiths.

“We have nothing to suggest a threat locally but regardless of this we want to reassure people and so we will be increasing patrols in and around local mosques. We are also making direct contact with trustees and representatives of mosques to explain what we are doing.

“If you have any concerns or questions please approach one of our officers and tell them.”

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