Nicola Sturgeon has spoken out against “Islamaphobia and hate” after 49 worshippers were murdered in a terrorist attack at two New Zealand mosques.
The First Minister showed support for Muslims attending mosques across Scotland, saying: “They are a valued part of our diverse and multicultural society”.
At least 49 people have been confirmed dead after the shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.
Police Scotland said it was stepping up patrols near mosques, but stressed there was “no intelligence to suggest any specific threat to Scotland”.
Sturgeon said: “On behalf of the Scottish Government and the people of Scotland I extend my thoughts to the people of New Zealand and everyone affected by the horrific attacks in Christchurch.
“Muslims across Scotland and elsewhere will today visit their mosque for Friday prayers and myself and justice secretary Humza Yousaf will visit Glasgow Central Mosque to stand in solidarity with our Muslim communities and offer our heartfelt support.
“We must stand against Islamaphobia and all hate. Scotland’s diversity is our strength and we value and appreciate our relationships with our diverse faith communities and welcome their contribution to our society.”
The Muslim Council of Scotland (MCS) said it was “deeply saddened” by the attack and called on mosques to review their security arrangements.
Dr Muhammad Habib, MCS convener, said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, the injured and anyone affected by this tragedy. Waking up to this news on the blessed day of Jumma, Friday has left many in the community distraught and shaken. Terrorism has no face or religion.
“Today’s tragedy highlights however, the horrific consequences of growing Islamophobia and hate. We need communities to come together in solidarity in order to defeat those who wish to divide us.
“MCS urge members of the public to remain vigilant but not alarmed and for mosques and institutes to urgently review their security arrangements.”
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that at least 20 others had been seriously injured.
And the country’s police force have confirmed that four people, three men and one woman, were in custody in relation to the attacks.
Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison said one of those arrested was an Australian citizen, and described the suspected attacker as an “extremist right-wing violent terrorist”.
A number of improvised explosive devices found on vehicles after the shootings were defused by police
The New Zealand consul in Scotland said he was “shocked and horrified”.
Sir Neil McIntosh added: “I know that this sense of shock and sadness is shared by the New Zealand community here and by everyone in Scotland. “
Mohammad Asif, chair of the Scottish Afghan Society, said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.
“The Scottish Afghan Society condemn this barbaric killing of innocent people and worshippers.
“We call upon the civilised world to come together and to fight all form of terrorism. Terrorism and terrorists have no religion.”
One of the attackers, Brenton Tarrant, appeared to have live-streamed the attack on social media as he shot victims in the mosque.
The 28-year-old Australian described his anti-immigrant motives in a manifesto published online.