London mosque increasing security

London Muslim Mosque on Oxford St. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News.)

The London Muslim Mosque (LMM) is upping its security measures and turning to local police for added protection following the mass shootings at two mosques in New Zealand.

Forty-nine people were killed and 48 others were injured during Friday prayers at the mosques in Christchurch. The horrific attack, 17 minutes of which was reportedly broadcast on social media, has sent shockwaves around the world and heightened safety concerns in the Muslim community.

London Muslim Mosque officials have reached out to London Police Chief John Pare requesting a police presence at the mosque, Medway, and YMCA for the Friday prayers.

“We have been employing a police officer for traffic for the last 5 months, who will be on site [Friday] as well. We are increasing security personnel today inside LMM and in the parking lot. Lastly, we are meeting with security consultants to put in preventative security measures at LMM,” Mosque Executive Director Aarij Anwer said in a statement.

“Our most heartfelt prayers go out to the deceased and their families. We share their pain and sorrow, and we mourn them like our own,” Anwer said of the New Zealand attack.

To help Londoners come together and heal, a community forum is planned at the Oxford Street Mosque for 7:30 p.m. Friday.

London has lowered the Canadian flag at City Hall on Dufferin Avenue to half-staff out of respect for those killed in New Zealand.

Mayor Ed Holder condemned the attack in a statement issued Friday morning.

“With a heavy heart, I add my voice to the many voices from around the world condemning this horrific act of terror. People everywhere should be able to gather for worship, free of fear,” said Holder. “Today, my thoughts also turn to our Muslim neighbours and friends in this community. I stand with you, all Londoners stand with you, in this moment of great sorrow. Violence, hatred and intolerance have no place here or anywhere.”