Prayers for peace after 50 killed in mosque shootings in New Zealand
Hundreds of people gathered at Sugar Land Town Center Sunday for a prayer vigil to remember victims of the recent shootings at two mosques in New Zealand. More than a dozen elected officials and faith community leaders led prayers and spoke out against violence and racism.
“As your mayor, I am here to tell you that we stand strong with New Zealand, with Christchurch and our Muslim community and we will not tolerate hate or intolerance of any kind,” Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman said.
On Friday, March 15, 50 people were killed and 50 more were wounded when a gun man targeted two mosques full of worshipers in Christchurch, New Zealand. Police arrested a 28-year-old Australian citizen identified as Brenton Harrison, who was charged with murder. Investigators reportedly discovered an 87-page manifesto filled with anti-Muslim ideas believed to have been written by the suspect.
“Just recently, the synagogue was attacked, the black church was attacked and now we have a mosque attack,” Sohail Syed, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston said. “God only knows if we don’t stop this nuisance who will be attached next time. So, this is not really a Muslim issue; this is an issue of humanity. We need to be united. We need to work together to fight this nuisance on every front.”
Fort Bend County District Attorney Brian Middleton and County Judge KP George pledged support to ensure the safety of the Muslim community and others who came to say prayers and show solidarity at the event.
“We need to say there is no place for hate in our society,” George said. “As long as I am the county judge, every citizen in this city should feel safe, especially when they are going to pray, especially when they are to be to in a temple or a mosque or a church.”
Congressman Al Green and Congressman Pete Olson were also among the speakers.
“We’re here today to say ’Enough is enough. No more hate,” Olson said. “Let’s make a pledge today that hate will not win.”