Churches of all faiths open doors to victims’ families in wake of New Zealand massacre

Grace Carr, DCNF

A number of churches opened their doors Friday to the families of victims killed or wounded and to all those affected by a deadly terrorist attack in New Zealand.

Churches of varied faiths welcomed Muslims and all persons after authorities directed mosques to close following Friday’s massacre. Alleged gunman, 28-year-old Australian man Brenton Tarrant, attacked two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 49 people and wounding numerous others.

Te Atatū Baptist Church in Auckland, New Zealand opened its arms to Muslims in a Friday Facebook post.

St. Paul’s Cathedral in London welcomed persons of all faiths to come to the place of worship.

The Archbishop of Canterbury also called for Christians to attend Friday mosque with their Muslim compatriots in a rejection of hatred.

Flowers and messages of support are flooding into mosques, according to CNN.

The New Zealand Council of Victim Support Groups started a crowdfunding effort for the victims of Friday’s attack. The fund has raised nearly $400,000.

Tarrant spelled out the reasons for his vicious attack in a 74-page manifesto that cites a number of terrorist attacks committed by Islamic terrorists and points to a history of aggression by Muslims. Tarrant wrote that the attack is “revenge for the enslavement of millions of Europeans taken from their lands by the Islamic slavers,” according to the manifesto.

The shooter also cited the death of 11-year-old Ebba Akerlund multiple times as justification for his own attack, The Daily Beast reported. Akerlund was killed after Uzbekistan asylum-seeker, Rakhmat Akilov, drove a stolen beer truck through a crowd in Stockholm. The attack killed five and injured 14, according to The Associated Press.

Other white supremacist groups have used Akerlund’s name to justify violence.

Approximately four percent of guns in New Zealand are registered, according to researcher and founder, Philip Alpers, The Guardian reported.

Tarrant is in custody and has been charged with murder, according to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

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