HOUSTON — Area law enforcement are keeping a close eye on and staying in contact with local mosques after Friday’s terror attack in New Zealand.
Two mass shootings at mosques full of worshipers attending Friday prayers killed 49 people in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo says officers are increasing security and adding patrols near places of worship.
“The killing of innocent people is should be condemned people the world over, even more so when an attack is carried out in a place of worship. The thoughts & prayers of the men & women of @houstonpolice are with the victims and their families. #RelationalPolicing,” the chief tweeted Friday morning.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez added that deputies would also be patrolling around mosques.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted the city will take necessary steps to protect those worshipping at mosque.
In Katy, police officials say although they do not have any mosques in the city limits, they are prepared to respond to all places of worship if the need arises.
In Sugar Land, police officials would not specify if they were increasing security, but did say they were in contact with local mosques.
In a statement, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:
"To God we belong, and to Him is our return. We mourn the heartbreaking killings of men, women and children gathered for prayer in their houses of worship and urge leaders in our nation and worldwide to speak out forcefully against the growing anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant hate that appears to have motivated these white supremacist terrorists. In the wake of this tragedy, we urge mosques, Islamic schools and other community institutions in the United States and around the world to take stepped-up security precautions, particularly during times of communal prayer."
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz issued the following statement in response to the terrorist:
“Heidi and I are horrified and outraged by the terrorist acts in Christchurch, which must be condemned in the strongest and most unequivocal terms. We stand in solidarity with the people of New Zealand, and with the Muslim communities in Texas and around the world, during this painful time. Terrorists and the hateful extremism that fuels them have no place in the civilized world and must be confronted. We join in praying for the speedy recovery of the many who still remain hospitalized, and for all the victims and their families.”