Leaders in the Central Indiana Muslim community are calling for peace and open hearts after a gunman attacked two New Zealand mosques, killing at least 49 people.
“Every time there is a shooting in any house of worship, mosque, synagogue or church, we Muslims wonder ‘Are we going to be next?'” Imam Ahmed Alamine said.
The attacks on the other side of the world sparked fear among Muslims in Indiana and abroad, said Alamine, who leads the Indianapolis Muslim Community Association.
But he said there’s also been an outpouring of concern and support from religious leaders of all faiths and from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
“The level of support from law enforcement, from Christians, from Jews, it is just so amazing,” Alamine said.
IMPD is not aware of any active threats, but Deputy Chief Josh Barker said law enforcement are closely monitoring events.
“We take all national and international acts of terror seriously and will continue to ensure we remain vigilant to provide patrol to all houses of worship including Indianapolis mosques,” Barker said. “We will take swift action if we receive any local information on threats that involve mosques in our community.”
A gunman attacked two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, during Friday prayers, killing at least 49 and injuring about 50 more people. The suspect live-streamed some of the attack on social media and posted a 70-plus-page manifesto, USA Today reported.
Aliya Amin, executive director of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana, said her group is urging people of all faiths to take precautions.
“We are just devastated by the attack,” said Aliya Amin, executive director of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana. “We are urging all places of worship in Indiana to step up their security.
“You never know when a copy cat may follow suit.”
IMPD’s chaplain, the Rev. Pat Holman, said an attack on a mosque is an attack on the entire faith community.
“New Zealand is a ways from Indianapolis,” Holman said. “My prayer is that we don’t have any incidents here. At the same time we have to prepare for what could happen.”
The best way to combat hate, Alamine said, is through understanding.
“For the Muslims, I invite them to open their hearts and open their minds to non-Muslims and have healthy relationships with everyone in our city,” Alamine said. “Let people know us.”