New Zealand Mosques Urged to Boost Vigilance After Sydney Terrorist Act

The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand has warned mosques to ‘be vigilant and take appropriate security precautions.’

The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) has emailed all of New Zealand’s 94 mosques, warning them to remain vigilant to threats, as Australian Police charged a 16-year-old with terrorism after he allegedly stabbed a bishop during a livestreamed sermon at Christ the Good Shepherd church in NSW on Monday night. The attack was declared a terrorist act because of the teen’s possible religious motivation.

A FIANZ spokesperson said the email was “just a suggestion to be vigilant and take appropriate security precautions considering the recent events in Australia. Also, we urged all of our centres to call 111 immediately if you or your community members have any concerns,” reported The New Zealand Herald.

Chairman of the FIANZ Royal Commission response to the Christchurch terror attack, Abdur Razzaq, said the organisation had received messages from their Islamic network overseas to “be careful.” He said that while the email was just a precaution, the Commission doesn’t normally send out such advice.

“Following on from what happened in Sydney and also keeping in mind that March 15 [the date of the Christchurch attack in 2019] is still in the memory, we are just taking a precaution, we are not panicking at this stage,” Mr. Razzaq said.“The issue is we don’t normally send these kind of advisories,” Mr. Razzaq added. “You know we don’t want to create panic. Just our assessment this time is we just need to be very careful because things have already happened in the UK. So we just want to let our community know.

“We are taking a precaution of advising our organisations all over the country to be a bit careful and if they see anything, or hear anything to immediately let police know.”

The NZ Police had been advised that the Commission was sending this message to its member communities, he said.

“We always work with them like this. It’s not a direct threat that we’ve received, but there’s no harm in [them] being aware of that,” he said.

“But we do know that the police and authorities do have very robust systems and things in place. So we also let them know.”

A police spokesperson confirmed they were aware of the message sent by FIANZ to its members today, “following the horrific events in Australia.”

“While we do not comment on security arrangements, Police remain in regular contact with the Federation and the wider Muslim community to share information and provide reassurance and support as and when required. We will continue to investigate any concerns or reported threats and respond accordingly,” the spokesperson said.


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