SINGAPORE - Religious organisations in Singapore have strongly condemned the recent shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, as they urged people of different religions to stand united against such acts of terror.
The National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) said in a statement on Saturday (March 16): "We denounce in the strongest possible terms these inhumane, barbaric and cowardly acts of terror, which targeted defenceless Muslim men, women and children as they were engaged in acts of worship."
NCCS added that it will pray for the victims and their loved ones, as well as witnesses who may have been badly traumatised by the "senseless violence".
At least 50 people were killed and hundreds injured in the attack on Friday, which saw a man armed with an automatic weapon open fire at worshippers at the Al Noor mosque and Linwood mosque.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who said it was a well-planned terror attack, had described it as "one of New Zealand's darkest days".
In a statement on Sunday, Muslim charity organisation Jamiyah Singapore said the gunman "deserves universal condemnation from all of us, whatever our race, nationality, and religion" for targeting innocent people who were at the mosque only to pray.
"The regular occurrence of these hate crimes in recent times must jolt us to accept the reality that terrorism has no religion," it added in its statement.
In the light of the Christchurch attack, it also urged people of all faiths to stand united and to rally against these "despicable acts".
Similarly, NCCS also said that the incident was a reminder to people of different religious and racial communities that they should get to know one another on a personal level.
This would help dispel harmful stereotypes that may lead to exclusion, discrimination and outright violence, it said.
NCCS added that it will continue to work closely with other religious leaders to promote peace and better understanding among followers of the various faiths.
Jamiyah Singapore also said that it will continue to act as a bridge for interracial and interfaith understanding.
And with Islamophobia prevalent worldwide, the organisation also encouraged Muslims to demonstrate what true Islam is in their conduct, even when confronted with the injustices of such terror acts.
Singapore leaders have extended their condolences to New Zealand since Friday.
President Halimah Yacob, in a letter to New Zealand Governor-General Patsy Reddy, called the attack a "senseless act of violence against innocent civilians at places of worship".
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a letter to Ms Ardern: "This heinous act is an attempt to spread fear and hatred. We must not allow such acts to divide our societies."
He added that Singapore stands in solidarity with New Zealand in the fight against terrorism.
Other politicians, including Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam, have also condemned the acts.