Philadelphia police increase patrols at mosques after New Zealand

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia police have stepped up patrols around mosques in the city after a deadly terror attack at two mosques in New Zealand.

Police already routinely patrol places of worship but have increased their presence in light of the mass shooting.

In Northeast Philadelphia, worshippers left morning prayers at Islamic Society of Greater Philadelphia devastated by the news.

Yusuf Brown tells Action News, "Just wanted to pray. Just pray." He continued, "We in different times in society now because everybody's emotions and everybody riled up. So all we gotta do is pray and everybody has to share love."

Hassan Abushama of Northeast Philadelphia added, "Faith standing together all the same. Because all we believe that God is the one."

An Australian citizen has been charged with murder in the attack. He left an anti-immigrant manifesto explaining his actions.

Mohammad M. Hammoudeh explains it hurts to hear this news.

"The Muslim community is as if they are one body. When one part of it aches, the entire nation aches. So we do feel for our brothers and our sisters," he said.

The Anti-Defamation League denounced this attack. Regional Director Nancy Baron-Baer tells Action News, "We should be standing arm in arm, shoulder to shoulder because this incident, this horrible assault never should have happened."

Baron-Baer adds the memory of the mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh is all too fresh.

"We haven't stopped feeling from that, and I am sure that in synagogues and in mosques and in churches all over, people look around more carefully, and they should," she said.

Philadelphia police say there is no specific threat on local mosques, but their counterterrorism unit will be visiting every mosque in the city to check on security.

Patrol units are also making frequent checks on mosques and synagogues as a precaution.
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