Vigils for the victims of shootings at two mosques in New Zealand have begun in the UK amid an outpouring of support for the Muslim community in the UK. The attacks in Christchurch, which have left 49 dead and at least 20 injured, have been condemned by public figures.
The Queen said she was "deeply saddened" by the shootings, and PM Theresa May called it "sickening".It comes as police have increased patrols at British mosques to provide reassurance. Senior counter-terrorism experts and security services were also due to hold talks with the Home Secretary on how mosques in the UK can best be protected.
The Queen paid tribute to the emergency services and volunteers who were helping the injured, and said: "Prince Philip and I send our condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives. She added that her "thoughts and prayers are with all New Zealanders" at this "tragic time".
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, in a joint message with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, called the attack "senseless", saying: "No person should ever have to fear attending a sacred place of worship."They ended the message with the M?ori words Kia Kaha, meaning "stay strong". Mrs May described what happened as a "horrifying terrorist attack", saying: "My thoughts are with all of those affected by this sickening act of violence."
She said the UK stood "shoulder to shoulder" with New Zealand. "There can be no place in our societies for the vile ideology that drives and incites hatred and fear," the prime minister added.The attacks in Christchurch on Friday, the deadliest in New Zealand's history, happened at around the time people were attending the mosques for prayers.
At least 20 people have also been wounded in what the country's prime minister Jacinda Arden described as one of the nation's "darkest days".People gathered for prayers at mosques across the UK, including at the East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre, which urged its community to "be more vigilant than ever".
Meanwhile, Finsbury Park Mosque, whose worshippers were targeted in a terror attack in June 2017, shared a picture of flowers and a note of support which it had received from members of the local community.Akeela Ahmed, who belongs to a group of Muslim representatives which advises the government, said she was helping to try and organise vigils around the country.
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