Christchurch mosque attacks: Churches offer Muslims a safe place to pray

7:25 am on 19 March 2019

Churches across the country are opening their doors to allow Muslims a safe place to pray following Friday's terrorist attacks.

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Photo: RNZ/Ana Tovey

Police have urged people to stay away from mosques until the risk level drops.

Anglican Archbishop Philip Richardson said churches from many denominations are opening their doors and halls in support.

Giving space to pray and grieve together is an immediate response, he said, but churches are also conducting relief appeals for the families.

"These are our neighbours, these are our brothers and sisters. When something as terrible as this happens to your neighbour, you simply want to respond, don't you?"

Archbishop Richardson said the inter-faith networks across the country are close and can also help to inform people where to seek support.

He said the compassionate response from non-Muslim faiths across the globe has been overwhelming.

"We hear so much globally about the rhetoric of hatred and fear, but we know that the vast majority of people care about their neighbours.

"When something as horrendous as this happens, I'm not at all surprised that an outpouring of compassion, grief and love is being directed towards the Christchurch Muslim community."

Meanwhile, a Jewish organisation in Pittsburgh, USA, is fundraising for the Christchurch Muslim community in the wake of the mosque attacks.

Last year, Muslim communities raised almost $240,000 for victims of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue shooting that killed 11 people.

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