LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Many worshipers walked into their mosque or place of worship heartbroken on Friday after hearing about the terrorist attack in New Zealand.
49 people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques in ChristChurch, New Zealand on Friday morning, according to the Associated Press. One of the men, who is now charged with murder, was said to be wielding at least two assault rifles and a shotgun. Two other armed suspects were taken into custody.
Even before the most recent attack across the world, safety policies and procedures were already in place at the Muslim Community Center in Louisville. The center works with Louisville Metro Police, with officers patrolling inside and outside as well as armed and licensed people on site.
The center’s former president Dr. Ammar Almasalkhi said it’s their responsibility to make sure their members are safe.
“We’re all in it together,” Almasalkhi said. “It’s really the struggle between good and evil - faithful against people who are lost from morals humanity and civility."
Dr. Almasalkhi said it pains him to know people are being targeted in the name of religion. He said hatred against Muslims has been growing for years and believes it’s partly because of misinformation and misrepresentation of immigrants.
“Since 911 the profile of violent attacks against Muslims has been a frequent happening,” Almasalkhi said. “We definitely feel unsafe at times coming to place of worship but our faith keeps us tranquil in our hearts.”
A local vigil to honor the victims in New Zealand will take place Saturday at 3 p.m. at Jefferson Square Park in downtown Louisville. It is hosted by several local organizations including Muslim Americans for Compassion.