Hundreds Gather At Australian Mosque As NZ Mourns
Worshippers and mourners have spilled out onto a Sydney street as they gathered to pray for the lives lost in New Zealand's mosque massacre.
There were emotional scenes at the Lakemba Mosque in Sydney's west, where the community vigil prayer was held.
Community leaders led worshippers through a traditional prayer for the lives lost and their families.
Hundreds of people gathered inside the mosque, but as the area soon become overcrowded, worshippers were also seen praying outside in the street and on the mosque stairs.
Powerful images on Friday evening also showed police standing guard in front of groups holding prayer.
A mother and daughter, who have family in Christchurch, left flowers on the steps of the mosque to a round of applause from the crowd.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian also attended the mosque and offered her thoughts and prayers to the Muslim community both in Sydney and in New Zealand.
"I come to express my deepest sympathies and condolences," Berejiklian said.
"An attack on one part of the community is an attack on all of us".
NSW Labor Leader Michael Daley also attended and said the New Zealand shooting was a despicable attack on innocent people
"To our brothers and sister in New Zealand who are suffering horribly, we are all at one with you in condemning this horrible attack," Daley said.
They were joined by a string of other local politicians, including MP Tony Burke who said he was sharing in the grief and frustration of the Muslim community.
"Terrorism has no religion, there is no religion called terrorism," Burke told worshippers inside the mosque.
"But there is bigotry called terrorism, and we reject that bigotry in every single form it finds itself."
Burke also went on to allude to a widely-condemned statement from Australian Senator Fraser Anning as being a point of frustration for the community.
"I am not even going to give him the dignity of using his name," Burke said to applause from the crowd.
"But I will say this: the solidarity that we have here tonight is what represents modern Australia.
"Don't let anyone tell you that you are less than being important, essential members of Australians society."
Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman also spoke to the crowd, saying he condemned "this utterly evil act of terrorism".
"Words can fail us sometimes," Coleman said.
"We value our freedoms in Australia, we value our religious freedoms, one of the great things about this nation is that everyone can practice their religious beliefs ... in peace and tolerance".
Prior to the vigil the Lebanese Muslim Association released a statement saying the it extended its heartfelt condolences to those affected by the attack.
The LMA said the attack was committed during a time when the Muslim community gathered for their weekly Friday sermon.
"A time usually spent in prayer and reflection in a place that is synonymous with peace and worship," the statement read.
Friday night's vigil came as the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils warned muslims in Australia and Australian mosques to be "extra vigilant" in the coming days.
Police in states across Australia have vowed to increase security and ramp up patrols in the next few days, however, they have insisted there is no attack imminent.
At least 49 people were killed on Friday when a gunman opened fire at two Christchurch mosques.
World leaders have condemned the attack and the Australian government and opposition have offered their support to New Zealand.
Featured image: 10 News First/AAP