'You Can't Hide Yourself': Philadelphia Reacts to New Zealand Massacre - NBC 10 Philadelphia

'You Can't Hide Yourself': Philadelphia Reacts to New Zealand Massacre

Though the massacre happened thousands of miles away, it resonated deeply with Philadelphia's Muslim community.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Increased Security After Mosque Mass Shooting in New Zealand

    A mass shooting at two separate New Zealand mosques killed at least 49 people and left many more injured. Officials at mosques and other houses of worship in the Philadelphia region are taking steps to make sure worshipers are safe and secure.

    (Published Friday, March 15, 2019)

    Leaders and residents in the Philadelphia region responded with grief, resilience and heightened security after a pair of mosque shootings left dozens dead in New Zealand.

    The shooting left 49 people dead after a gunman opened fire at two separate mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. As leaders extended their condolences, the Philadelphia Police Department promised frequent checks on the city's mosques and other houses of worship.

    "Philadelphia stands with New Zealand and those affected by the horrific terrorist attack at two mosques. Our hearts are with you. Arohanui," Mayor Jim Kenney wrote on Twitter, using a Maori word that translates roughly to "with deep affection."

    Former Vice President Joe Biden, a Pennsylvania native and former Delaware representative, also expressed his sympathies.

    "Whether it is antisemitism in Pittsburgh, racism in Charlottesville, or the xenophobia and Islamophobia today in Christchurch, violent hate is on the march at home and abroad. We cannot stand by as mosques are turned into murder scenes," Biden Tweeted.

    Though the massacre happened thousands of miles away, it resonated deeply with Philadelphia's Muslim community.

    At the Muslim American Society in North Philadelphia, a school and mosque, teachers held an assembly to try to explain to young students what happened in New Zealand. "How do you talk to others about this? We just have to be strong and ... represent who we are, not hide and move forward from this," said teacher Yasmin Sherif.

    In front of a sea of children, many of them girls sporting pink hijabs, jackets and backpacks, an 8-year-old fifth-grader took the microphone, encouraging his peers to not bow to hatred or fear.

    "You can't hide yourself," he said. "You need to wear your hijab with pride, wear your thobe with pride. You can't hide."