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Canterbury Mosque opens its doors after New Zealand shootings kill 49 people

By Lydia Chantler-Hicks

A mosque has held a service in solidarity with those affected by the New Zealand shootings.

Forty-nine people were killed in attacks on two mosques in the Christchurch area of the country, after they were targeted in the early hours of this morning - early afternoon, New Zealand time.

Another 39 people are in hospital following the attack.

Canterbury Mosque, in Giles Lane, has responded to the tragedy by opening its doors to the public.

Imam Ihsan Khan said: "These attacks are trying to stop people from carrying out their day-to-day lives, and their day-to-day worship.

"But we will not be scared.

The Canterbury Mosque in Giles Lane. Picture: Chris Davey FM5078548 (7812704)
The Canterbury Mosque in Giles Lane. Picture: Chris Davey FM5078548 (7812704)

"We can counteract that by opening our doors. We can educate people, so they can inside the mosque and see that we're not terrorists.

"People who carry out these attacks like the one in New Zealand this morning do not understand Islam.

Imam Ihsan Khan (7812745)
Imam Ihsan Khan (7812745)

"Maybe they won't carry out such attacks in the future, if they see inside the mosque, and see that Muslims aren't terrorists.

"Right now, we have this association given to us and until that has been removed we will not have a solution.

"We need to show people that religion and terrorism are not the same thing, and to remove the terrorist association from the religion."

The Imam invited people of all faiths and backgrounds to attend the mosque's Friday prayers at 1pm, to show solidarity with the victims of the New Zealand attack.

Several MPs from Kent shared their shock and sadness at this morning's news.

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