Sturgeon expresses solidarity with New Zealand's Muslim community on 'dark day'

15 March 2019, 11:20

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon has expressed her solidarity with the Muslim community of New Zealand following shootings at two mosques in Christchurch which killed 49 people.

In a tweet, the First Minister condemned the attacks and said that Muslims are a "valued part of our diverse and multicultural society".

Ms Sturgeon wrote: "This is beyond awful. Innocent people being murdered as they worship is horrific and heartbreaking.

"My thoughts and solidarity are with New Zealand's Muslim community and all of its people on this dark day.

"Today, at mosques across Scotland and elsewhere, Muslims will attend Friday prayers.

"They are a valued part of our diverse and multicultural society. It is terrorists who commit acts such as who offend our values as a society. We must stand against Islamaphobia and all hate".

The First Minister also said that she would visit the Glasgow Central Mosque on Friday, adding: "New Zealand may be on the other side of the world but I know that for Muslims here, what has happened will feel very personal and close to home.

"As we send our love to #christchurch, we must stand united here".

Scottish Labour MSP Anas Sarwar said: "This was a devastating and despicable attack. Today, as millions of Muslims attend Friday Prayers across the world, thoughts are with all the victims, their families and friends, and all those hurting.

"Prejudice is on the rise across the world, creating a toxic 'us versus them' environment that sows the seeds of hate.

"This terrorist attack is designed to divide our communities, but an attack on one is an attack on all.

"In the aftermath of this distressing tragedy, we must unite and work together to confront hatred. This is not a fight for one individual community, it's a fight for all of us."

Holyrood's Presiding Officer, Ken Macintosh, indicated that the Parliament would be flying flags at half-mast following the attacks as a mark of respect.

On Twitter, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said of the attack: "Sickening. Just sickening."

Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie wrote: "Such shocking news from #Christchurch. The world must unite against such vicious far right hate; tolerating its presence in our society and in our politics has become normalised, and must end."

Scottish Conservative MSP Annie Wells said: "Heartbreaking to hear of what's happened in New Zealand. Glasgow stands in solidarity with the Muslim community and all of the families affected by this tragedy."

David Mundel, the Secretary of State for Scotland, wrote: "My heart goes out to the families of those caught up in this outrage and the people of New Zealand."