FAITH leaders have expressed their deep sadness after two mass shootings at mosques in New Zealand.

Brighton and Hove Faith in Action, a charity representing more than 100 religious communities in the city, issued a statement after the terror attacks in which at least 49 people died.

It said: “Throughout history, across the world and irrespective of belief, civilised societies even in times of war have always regarded, respected and even protected places of worship as sanctuaries of neutrality, safety and peace.

“The most heinous occasions of sacrilege in history have always betrayed a dehumanising attitude by the perpetrators of ‘the other’ and betrayed our common humanity.


“The hijacking of any religion by perpetrators of violence to justify their actions and taint all believers with their contempt for human life is condemnable.

“Similarly is the adoption of violence to quash the freedom of others to practice their religion, impede their freedom to express themselves civilly in speech and conscience and seek to impose ideologies by coercive force or oppression.

“In solidarity of prayer and principle, [we] stand together with the bereaving families and congregations of the Al Noor and Al Huda mosques and their surrounding communities, so egregiously attacked, murdered and terrorised while at prayer, seeking peace in their lives.

“We pray too for the perpetrators, that the realisation of the horror they have committed might bring them to repentance and confession of their crime, that justice may prevail for the consolation of the bereaved and peace not fear take hold of their communities.”