Faith leaders around the globe immediately rushed to prayer after news broke at least 49 people were killed in two mosque massacres in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Among them is Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
Reuters reported that a gunman broadcast livestream footage on Facebook of the attack on one mosque in the city of Christchurch, mirroring the carnage played out in video games, after publishing a “manifesto” in which he denounced immigrants, calling them “invaders.”
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New Zealand was placed on its highest security threat level, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, adding that “this can now only be described as a terrorist attack.”
Rodriguez wasn’t the only prominent Christian to cry out to God after news of the massacre broke. Several faith-filled people used social media to share their prayers for the victims and country.
The Most Rev. Joseph D’Souza, moderating bishop of the Good Shepherd Church of India and president of the All India Christian Council:
“Our hearts are with the Muslim community in New Zealand after this heinous attack on the Masjid Al Noor and Linwood mosques. We applaud the prime minister’s right decision to quickly condemn the attack. This is the latest reminder that our world has descended into a social media-fueled decadence that consumes the political and religious class. That this kind of violence could happen in a peaceful country like New Zealand exposes the great danger all nations face when religious extremists or extreme nationalists take advantage of platforms like social media to propagate their twisted, hate-filled philosophies and call for violence to be unleashed on innocent people like those in Christchurch Friday. Our words and tweets and Facebook posts have an impact on vulnerable minds. We must remember that we reap what we sow. This attack is a reminder that the world is in dire need of peacemakers, who will sow peace and fiercely push back against the evil that aims to suppress the fundamental right of every human being to practice his or her religion as they would choose.”
Alex McFarland, organizer of Truth for a New Generation conferences:
On behalf of Truth For a New Generation, our staff, and myself, our prayers and condolences are with the families of the shooting victims in New Zealand. We condemn this violence in the strongest possible terms, and our hearts break to think of innocent people being gunned down in this manner. The Bible speaks of our connectedness with all of our fellow human beings: We do, “weep with those who weep,” at this tragic time (Romans 12:15). We call on people everywhere to pray for peace, to pray that the Holy Spirit would restrain evil, and we urge people to do all that they can to make those around them feel loved and valued. We thank the Lord that He is the God of all comfort (II Corinthians 1:3), and that through a relationship with Jesus Christ, hearts inclined toward sin can be transformed into souls filled with love.