Boston police boost presence at mosques following New Zealand mass shootings

BOSTON (WHDH) - There will be an increased police presence at mosques and houses of worship in Boston following Friday’s massacres in New Zealand that left 49 people dead and many others injured.

RELATED: ‘One of New Zealand’s darkest days’: Mass shootings at mosques kill 49; 1 man charged

“We are increasing security and stepping up patrols,” a Boston Police Department spokeswoman said in a statement.

Members of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center are stricken with grief after waking to news of rampage, which was allegedly carried out by a self-proclaimed immigrant-hating white nationalist wielding at least two rifles.

Authorities say the shooter left a detailed manifesto ranting about white supremacy.

Unfortunately, the reality is, even in our own country, we have seen the Jewish community being attacked by white supremacists,” said Yusufi Vali, of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center. “I think for that reason, this has resonance, even though it was so far from here.”

In wake of the news, Vali says he immediately received messages of support from other members of the faith community and city leaders.

“Boston has an incredible track record here. We are a community that’s always stuck together,” he said. “After the Tree of Life synagogue shooting, you saw all of us come together from very different faiths.”

Vali says the community needs to stick together and remain “Boston Strong.”

Mental health counselors will be made available at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center on Friday. Thousands of people, including Mayor Martin Walsh, are expected to visit the mosque for afternoon prayer.

In a statement, the Cambridge Police Department added, “Places of worship should be places where all can congregate without fear. As always, we will do our part to support that through increased attention with our patrols and ongoing dialogue with faith leaders to ensure enhanced peace of mind.”

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