The bishop of the Archdiocese of Chalan Kanoa grieves for the victims of the terror attack in two Muslim mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that killed 50 people over the weekend.
“We grieve with the families of the victims of [this] terrible hate crime in New Zealand. We pray for them and we ask during this season of Lent that we will be reminded of not only God’s mercy toward us but also of His call for us to be merciful toward others,” said Bishop Ryan P. Jimenez in a statement when sought for comments.
American Samoa Delegate Aumua Amata (R-A. Samoa) also issued a statement in the wake of the massacre, saying: “The reports from New Zealand are heartbreaking. We are mourning with them today. In American Samoa, we think of the other Pacific islands as neighbors. …I have had reason to travel to New Zealand. I’ve met with many of our wonderful community of Samoan friends living there.
“New Zealand is a welcoming and beautiful place, and just days ago, I was speaking with their ambassador to the U.S. about all our countries share. I know that as this sad news reaches everyone in American Samoa that our people will be praying, and we send New Zealand our love,” Amata added.
In his statement to Saipan Tribune, Jimenez reminded the public to be tolerant of those who hold different religious beliefs.
“We on island are becoming more and more an international, intercultural, and inter-religious society. We are reminded of our own call to show respect for each other while we strive to maintain our own religious and cultural practices,” he said.
Northern Marianas International School manager John Joyner and his wife Yasuko Joyner also extended their condolences to the CNMI Muslim community.
“Yasuko and I extend to the NMI Muslim community our condolences and heartfelt sadness. …We weep in solidarity with your pain and outrage,” they said.
According to CNN, the massacres occurred on two separate times of the day last Friday. The first was the most deadly and took place at the al-Noor Mosque at 1:30pm in Christchurch.
A few minutes after, a second attack at the Linwood Mosque, also in Christchurch, killed at least seven people, with another dying at the hospital. In total, 50 were killed and another 50 were wounded in the attacks.