NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Anwer Bashi said he has noticed an increase of Islamophobia in the world. Bashi said the attack in New Zealand was made even worse because it happened on a Friday, the busiest day of worship at mosques.
“That’s the day of worshiping,” Bashi said. “We have a large congregation on Fridays, and we’ve had security for years just because of these kinds of concerns, but today we’re doing a little bit more than usual.”
Out of an abundance of caution, he asked the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office to patrol the area. Sheriff’s deputies said they’re not aware of any threats to area mosques, but they’re adding extra patrols to help ensure that congregations feel safe.
In New Orleans, an interfaith prayer service was held Friday (March 15) as an expression of solidarity. Different religious leaders stood shoulder to shoulder with the Muslim community to show their support.
“To those victims in New Zealand, all we can do today from New Orleans, Louisiana, is express our sympathies and our condolences and pray that it won’t happen again," said Jewish Federation CEO Arnie Fielkow.
Imam Rafeeq Nu’man said this act of violence indicates that some people don’t understand the Muslim faith.
“We may not fully understand it, but we have to accept it and then do whatever we can to bring about a better resolve for every human being," Nu’man said.
Since the New Zealand attacks, Nu’man and Bashi said they’ve been encouraged by the community.
“We just appreciate the support that we’ve gotten,” Bashi said. “We appreciate that people are speaking out against this philosophy, this ideology that makes these kinds of things possible.”