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Officers providing extra security at Valley mosques after New Zealand attacks

Posted at 7:41 AM, Mar 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-15 22:04:11-04

TEMPE, AZ — Some Valley places of worship are asking for extra security Friday following deadly attacks in New Zealand, but prayer services went on as scheduled throughout the Valley.

At least 49 people were killed and 20 hurt after gunmen opened fire in two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch Friday.

Many worshippers attended services with heavy hearts. "There was sad air flowing around the mosque, you can feel that the spirits where a little bit low. Certainly it was a day for us to remember the victims, remember the families and cast a collective prayer in the hopes that it reaches their hearts," said Yasser Faiq, who attended prayer service in Tempe.

Tempe police say they have received two requests for extra security from off-duty officers at mosques within the city, as of Friday morning.

Scottsdale is also increasing patrols as a precaution.

The Board of Rabbis of Greater Phoenix released a statement Friday concerning the massacre.

"We are sickened and appalled by the heinous hate crime against the Moslem community in Christchurch, New Zealand, during their Jum'ah prayer services. The Board of Rabbis of Greater Phoenix stands in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in their right to worship and live free from fear and oppression based on their religious affiliation. We continue to stand up against those forces in society that drive us apart," the statement says.

RELATED: How you can help New Zealand terror attack victims

Below are statements from local officials:

Tempe Police Department:

Our deepest sympathies to all those affected by this tragedy. Our officers are encouraged to know where all houses of worship are in their area...We will continue to work with the public to reduce harm in Tempe.

Phoenix Police Department:

The thoughts and prayers of the Phoenix Police Department go out to all who are effected by the senseless tragedy of the recent events in New Zealand. Incidents such as this are an attack on one of our most cherished rights, the right to worship as we see fit. We continually remind our officers to be aware of all houses of worship in their areas and pay increased attention to those locations. In addition, we remind the community to be ever vigilant. If you see something, say something can never be over emphasized.

Scottsdale Police Department:

We are aware of the recent tragic shootings in New Zealand. While there are no credible threats against any religious institutions in our city, we are taking extra precautions and increasing patrols to ensure their safety. We encourage all members of our community to be aware of their surroundings and if they “See something, Say something.”