CHICAGO (CBS) — The Muslim community in Chicago is taking measures to ensure safety here, after 49 people were killed in coordinated terrorist attacks at two mosques in New Zealand.
The Muslim Community Center in the Old Irving Park neighborhood plans to hire extra security to keep watch in and around their building as a result of the shootings. It’s also requesting extra police patrols at their mosque in Old Irving Park, their education center in Morton Grove, and their campus in Skokie.
“Late last night we were horror-stricken to hear the news of the mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques during Jummah Prayers. Our heartfelt Duas go out to all of the victims, their families and the Muslim communities that have been tragically affected by the gunmen who killed our brothers and sisters half way across the world,” the center stated in a post on Facebook.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations also urged mosques and worshippers to take preventative steps; including contacting local police for extra patrols, notifying leaders to be on the lookout for suspicious behavior, having members volunteer to greet people outside, and encouraging calm instead of panic.
“The horrific active shooter scenario at a mosque is something we all pray never happens, there is no active intelligence that there is any immediate threat in the US. But we cannot be complacent,” CAIR stated in a Facebook post.
Chicago police said there are no known threats to Chicago, but they will be keeping a closer eye on mosques.
“We are in contact with federal partners and the international intelligence community monitoring the tragedy in New Zealand,” CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. “First Deputy Superintendent Anthony Riccio has directed districts to pay special attention to mosques and citizens can expect to see a heightened presence in those areas.”
Police in New Zealand said 41 people were killed at one mosque and seven at the other. Another person died at the hospital. Dozens of others were wounded in the attacks.
One suspected shooter, 28-year-old Brenton Harrison Tarrant, has been charged with murder in the mass shootings. Sources confirmed to CBS News that video livestreamed on social media by the shooter shows the attack in horrifying detail.
The gunman sprayed innocent worshipers inside the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch for more than two minutes before running back out to the street, where he takes aim at people down the sidewalk before returning to his car for a different weapon.
Two explosives attached to the suspects’ cars were discovered and disarmed.
It’s unclear if the same shooter is responsible for both attacks.
Three others are in custody.
“These are people who I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand and no place in the world,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern said.
Police in New York and Los Angeles confirmed they will increase efforts to keep mosques safe.