Lebanese officials united Friday in their condemnation of shootings in two New Zealand mosques that killed dozens of people.
At least 49 people were killed and 20 were seriously wounded during Friday prayers at the two mosques in shootings that New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described as acts of terrorism.
President Michel Aoun condemned the attack as a “massacre” in a statement, and sent a cable to Ardern offering his condolences for the victims of the attack.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri wrote in a tweet that “Words fail to express how much we denounce the terrorist massacre that was committed against innocent worshipers in two mosques in New Zealand.”
The premier extended his country’s “deepest condolences for the victims and all the solidarity with the people of New Zealand and its government.”
Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil warned that the rise of extremism in the West “puts societies in huge danger of direct confrontation that will lead only to more woes and wars,” Bassil said.
He added that Lebanon was a model of moderation and tolerance “in a world that is filled with radicalism.”
Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian described the attack as a “terror attack against Islam and Muslims worldwide.”
“The attack on the mosques and the killing of worshipers is a dangerous violation to the mosque’s sanctity and a blatant assault on the freedom of religion … and this is terrorism,” Derian said in a statement.
The mufti called for solidarity between Christians and Muslims in the face of terrorism.
Future Movement Secretary-General Ahmad Hariri offered his condolences to the families of the victims and called on the party’s supporters in Oceania to stand by their side.
He called for “everyone … to resolve the reasons behind extremism and discrimination against Muslims, who constitute a factor of stability.”
Interior Minister Raya El Hassan described the shootings as “a horrendous crime,” in a tweet on her Twitter account.
Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil also denounced the shooting in a series of tweets, calling terrorism “a frightening disease.”
“The New Zealand attack is additional evidence of the world’s need today for tolerance and pure, divine love that is far from extremism, who are the enemies of all religions,” Khalil said.