JAKARTA (Reuters) – Political and Islamic leaders across Asia expressed their disgust at the deadly shooting at two mosques in New Zealand on Friday as some revealed their citizens had been caught up in the bloodshed.
The timing of the shootings in the city of Christchurch, during Friday prayers, and the posting on social media of what appeared to be live, point-of-view video footage of the assault by a gunman added to the distress of many.
“Indonesia strongly condemns this shooting act, especially at a place of worship while a Friday prayer was ongoing,” Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said in a statement.
She was earlier cited by media as saying six Indonesians had been inside the mosque when the attack occurred, with three managing to escape and three unaccounted for.
Indonesia’s ambassador to New Zealand, Tantowi Yahya, told Reuters inquiries were being made as to whether Indonesians were caught up in the attack. There are 331 Indonesians in Christchurch, including 134 students, the foreign ministry said.
In Muslim-majority Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim, the leader of the biggest party in its ruling coalition, said one Malaysian had been wounded in the attack he described as a “black tragedy facing humanity and universal peace”.
“I am deeply saddened by this uncivilized act, which goes against humanistic values and took the lives of civilians,” he said in a statement.
“We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims and the people of New Zealand.”
New Zealand authorities confirmed “multiple” deaths but they did not say how many or identify any victims.
New Zealand media reported “dozens” of dead.