(Editor’s note: This is a developing story, which will be updated during the day.)
The Jewish Community of Louisville was among the Jewish entities around the globe that quickly reacted to Friday’s shooting attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, while worshipers were at prayer, killing at least 49 people.
Police in Christchurch took four people into custody. one of them, Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old fitness trainer from Australia, was charged with murder in connection with the shootings. He had in the past described himself as a “regular white man, from a regular family.”
AP reported that police defused explosives in a car.
The JCL said in its statement that it was “shocked and heartbroken” over the terrorist attack.
“Our thoughts are with the victims, their families, the injured, the Muslim community in New Zealand and, indeed Muslims everywhere.,” it continued. “There are far too many solidarity vigils recently, but blind hatred and violence will not win out in the end when people of good will are united in celebrating diversity in all its forms.
“The huge loss of life in this incident needs to serve as a reminder that our work to combat causeless hatred must continue. May this be the last senseless act of violence and may peace and justice win out always.”
The full statement can be read here.
Jewish organizations in New Zealand are responding to the shootings.
The New Zealand Jewish Council is ”sickened and devastated” by the attacks, in which at least one armed individual killed dozens of people by shooting them at close distance with a semi-automatic rifle. Footage of the carnage, which the killer filmed and streamed live, shows victims huddling and moaning as the killer fires into the crowd.
“We offer our full assistance and support to the Muslim community and stand united with it against the scourge of terrorism and racism, which we must do all we can to banish from New Zealand,” Stephen Goodman, the president of The New Zealand Jewish Council told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
The Holocaust Centre of New Zealand said it was “devastated” by the news of the attacks.
“We say to all New Zealanders that acts of hate have no place in our society and to stand in solidarity against
people who believe they do,” the centre’s statement says. “It is our responsibility to care for, respect and protect everyone, and we all have the right to feel as safe in a place of worship as we do in our own homes.”
The New Zealand Friends of Israel Association also condemned the attacks. “We hope that a spirit of forgiveness prevails over any desire for revenge and hate,” said its president, Tony Kan, in a statement.
He added, “We hope that there will be no ongoing ethnic or religious conflict arising from this tragedy. All New Zealanders should show their repugnance for what has been done today.”
The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) called the attack “an act of appalling right-wing racist terrorism.”
“The perpetrators of this monstrous hate crime will unite all decent people in solidarity with the victims,” said AIJAC Executive Director Colin Rubenstein in a statement.
World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder expressed “horror and revulsion” over the shootings.
“We must redouble efforts to combat hatred and division in our societies,” Lauder said in his statement, “from wherever it emanates.”