Northern Ireland news

Book of condolence for victims of New Zealand gun attacks opened in Belfast

A book of condolence for those who lost their lives in New Zealand was opened at Belfast City Hall by Lord Mayor Deirdre Hargey, joined by Dr Muhammad Saleem Tareen of the Belfast Islamic Centre. Picture by Hugh Russell

A BOOK of condolence for the victims of the New Zealand gun attacks has opened in Belfast.

Sinn Féin Belfast lord mayor Deidre Hargey was accompanied by Dr Muhammad Saleem Tareen of the Belfast Islamic Centre as they signed the book at city hall.

Politicians and other religious leaders were also in attendance to pay their respects to those who lost their lives in the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch.

Ms Hargey said they were there "to show our sympathies with all those who have been killed and injured".

A vigil is also due to be tonight at Belfast City Hall where a minute's silence will be observed. The event hsa been organised by United Against Racism Belfast and a  spokesperson said it was "important that we are together in our sadness, anger and dismay at this act of violence".

"Belfast will not wait for a massacre to stand united against racism.

"We stand in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters around the world."

The Belfast Islamic Centre said its thoughts and prayers were "with all those who lost their lives in this act of terrorism".

"We've seen the community churches and faith organisations in New Zealand have rallied around the local community in Christchurch," it said in a statement.

"Thank you to everyone who has called, emailed or messaged the FB page this morning. Some Churches and Jewish community have also contacted us.

"Reminding us in the face of terrorism and hate that there is more that unites us than divides.

"We all have a duty to speak against the voices of hate and division that want to promote murder and distrust."

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