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‘They fight us with a bullet, we fight back with love and compassion.’

Faith, political leaders gather at local mosque to spread messages of love to Muslim community in wake of New Zealand mass shooting

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‘They fight us with a bullet, we fight back with love and compassion.’

Chairman of the Long Beach Islamic Center Tarek Mohamed, left, and Rabbi Steven Moskowitz of Temple Israel, right, embrace at an emergency meeting held on Friday, March 15, the day after the mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which 50 people were killed.

Chairman of the Long Beach Islamic Center Tarek Mohamed, left, and Rabbi Steven Moskowitz of Temple Israel, right, embrace at an emergency meeting held on Friday, March 15, the day after the mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which 50 people were killed.

Photos by Lissette Mendoza | Signal Tribune

Chairman of the Long Beach Islamic Center Tarek Mohamed, left, and Rabbi Steven Moskowitz of Temple Israel, right, embrace at an emergency meeting held on Friday, March 15, the day after the mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which 50 people were killed.

Photos by Lissette Mendoza | Signal Tribune

Photos by Lissette Mendoza | Signal Tribune

Chairman of the Long Beach Islamic Center Tarek Mohamed, left, and Rabbi Steven Moskowitz of Temple Israel, right, embrace at an emergency meeting held on Friday, March 15, the day after the mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which 50 people were killed.

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An emergency meeting was held at the Long Beach Islamic Center on Friday, March 15, to show support for the Muslim community in the cities of Long Beach and Signal Hill after the mass shooting that occurred at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, where at least 50 people were killed and 20 more were seriously injured.

Key figures were in attendance to show their support for the Muslim community, including local faith, political and law-enforcement leaders.

“Every time they take a life, one million lives are going to rise to resist them,” said Tarek Mohamed, chairman of the Long Beach Islamic Center. “Every time they take and destroy one flower, we’re going to replace it with a garden of flowers. They fight us with a bullet, we fight back with love and compassion.”

Rabbi Steven Moskowitz from Temple Israel and Pastor Eric Marsh from Parkcrest Christian Church also came to show their support for the Jewish and Christian communities in Long Beach.

“Imam Tarek Mohamed is my brother,” began Moskowitz. “We stand up with Mohamed. We will defeat those who attack us. We stand up together, and we shall prevail.”

Mayor Tina Hansen pledged aid from the City of Signal Hill.

Imam Ameen A. Omar from Long Beach mosque Masjid Al-Shareef condemned the mass shooting that killed 50 Muslims in New Zealand during an emergency meeting at the Long Beach Islamic Center in Signal Hill on Friday, March 15.

“It is important to come together, like we are here in our local community, and speak out against hatred and violence and pledge our support for this center and the community that worships here,” she said. “On behalf of the City of Signal Hill, I want to pledge my city’s support to the center, to your community that worships here and whatever resources you need from our city, our police department, from our staff, we are here for you.”

Fourth District Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn thanked the Signal Hill and Long Beach Police departments for their “vigilant” protection of the mosques. Hahn condemned the attack, saying that “violence and murder are the inevitable consequence of hate and bigotry. We do not accept that, we will not be tolerant of that, nor in any way will we do anything except condemn that.”

Hahn expressed her support to the Muslim community, adding how “we stand united today with you, our Muslim neighbors, and we stand with you every day. We support you, we will do everything we can to protect you, and we are here to tell you that you are a much loved and valued people in our communities, here in Signal Hill and throughout Los Angeles County.”
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia was also in attendance and acknowledged Mohamed as a “brother and friend to all of us here in Long Beach.”

Men gather for Friday prayers at the Long Beach Islamic Center in Signal Hill on Friday, March 15, after a mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which 50 people were killed.

He was joined by Vice Mayor Dee Andrews and councilmembers Lena Gonzalez and Al Austin as he expressed their support on behalf of the City of Long Beach.

“This is a painful reminder that hate lives on, Islamophobia is real, and we must do everything in our power to defeat it,” Garcia said. “On behalf of Long Beach, we stand with our Muslim community and neighbors and send our love to you, not just here at home, but across the world.”

He added: “Our message is a community message. We love you, we support you, and we are with you always. We must always reject Islamophobia. We must always reject white nationalism. We must always reject anyone who chooses to attack the beauty of diversity, equality and freedom of religion.”

The chief of the Signal Hill Police Department, Christopher Nunley, and chief of the Long Beach Police Department, Robert Luna, assured people in attendance that, although no credible threats had been indicated, to not hesitate to call if they witness anything suspicious.

“Fear is real, but how do we defeat that? It’s vigilance,” Luna said.

For Mohamed, the support from the community was reassuring.

“Your message means a lot to us,” he said. “Our community feels a lot better that behind them [is] very great leadership and [a] great community.”

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‘They fight us with a bullet, we fight back with love and compassion.’