ATLANTA — Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of CAIR-Georgia, urged Muslim houses of worship and private schools to increase security in the wake of terrorist attacks in New Zealand.
In Christchurch, 49 people were killed and 20 injured in attacks at two mosques. Police also found explosive devices nearby.
CAIR-Georgia is also calling on local law enforcement agencies to send patrol cars to guard local mosques during Islamic prayer services Friday.
“Georgia Muslims will have to continue to strengthen our own security in the coming weeks and months,” said Mitchell.
“This shooting is not an isolated or foreign incident,” he added. “This shooting is simply the latest in a surge of xenophobic and Islamophobic attacks against minorities that have occurred around the world. The hatred this man spewed in his manifesto sounds alarmingly similar to the hatred right-wing extremists and even some politicians spew here in the United States.”
CAIR-Georgia also plans to call on state and national political leaders to speak out against anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim bigotry that Mitchell said leads to such violence.
Gwinnett County and Atlanta police confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Friday they are boosting security around local mosques following the mass shootings in New Zealand.
“We have our officers conducting directed patrols around city mosques and asking them to be on heightened alert for suspicious activity,” Atlanta police spokesman Carlos Campos said. “Additionally, our Homeland Security Unit is monitoring the events out of New Zealand.”
Gwinnett police are responding similarly.
“In response to the incident in New Zealand, we have increased patrols at all mosques in Gwinnett County,” said Cpl. Michele Pihera, a Gwinnett police spokeswoman. “We hope to bring some measure of comfort to those who visit these places of worship during this difficult time.”
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