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26th May, 2019

Bishop of Coventry expresses "outrage" at New Zealand mosque attacks

THE BISHOP of Coventry has expressed his “sense of deep outrage” at the shootings at two New Zealand mosques which left 49 dead and at least 20 wounded.

In a letter to Coventry Muslim Forum chair Dr Abdullah Shehu, the Right Reverend Dr Christopher Cocksworth said the attacks in the city of Christchurch were “a dreadful act of terror that will send shockwaves of fear across every Muslim community, including those of Coventry and Warwickshire”.

He said: “I am writing to express my sense of deep outrage at the appalling desecration of human life inflicted on innocent Muslim people as they gathered to pray at their Mosques in New Zealand.

“The scale of the tragedy is appalling and the hatred behind and during its perpetration is truly shocking.

“I stand with you in your condemnation of such violation of humanity, grief in the loss of your brothers and sisters, and in prayer for those who suffered injury to their bodies, minds and spirits, and those who suffered the loss of their dear ones.”

He added that tomorrow’s (Saturday March 16) termly meeting of the Synod of the Diocese of Coventry – representing 206 parishes across Coventry and Warwickshire – would begin with a period of silence to remember the victims, pray for those affected by the tragedy, and “call on the mercy of God to heal our damaged world”.

He signed off: “With my condolences to the whole Muslim community whom we count as our dear friends in faith.”

The attack, which came around the time people were attending the mosques for Friday prayers, was the deadliest in the nation’s history.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described it as a terrorist attack and one of New Zealand’s “darkest days”.

A man in his late 20s was charged with murder and will appear in court on Saturday morning.

The suspect appeared to have published a document before the attack outlining his intentions, in which he espoused far right and anti-immigrant ideology.

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