Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, others express solidarity with Christchurch | TribLIVE.com
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Tom Davidson

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto took to social media Friday to express solidarity with people in Christchurch, New Zealand, and promise protection for Pittsburgh’s Muslim community in the wake of the mosque shootings that left at least 49 dead.

Pittsburgh Public Safety said officials have been in contact with local Islamic leaders and increased patrols at mosques and other places of worship.

“The City of Pittsburgh will protect all houses of worship and the right to freely and safely practice your religion without fear,” the department said in a statement.

“As Mayor William Peduto noted following the tragic events of Oct. 27, 2018, in the Tree of Life Synagogue, Pittsburgh got its asterisk that day. We were added to the long list of communities who have suffered unimaginable loss as the result of ignorance and extremism,” the statement added. “Today we stand with the people of Christchurch, New Zealand. We offer our deepest condolences. And we will continue to stand united against all forms of hate.”

Peduto, who has been pushing to strengthen gun regulations in the city since 11 people were killed at Squirrel Hill’s Tree of Life synagogue, also tweeted Friday about a failed bid in New Zealand a decade ago to reclassify certain civilian semiautomatic weapons.

“Thoughts & Prayers are not enough,” Peduto tweeted.

Peduto wasn’t alone in taking to social media to express solidarity between Pittsburghers and people in Christchurch.

Bishop David A. Zubik of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh said in a statement that his “heart hurts to learn of yet another mass shooting in a place of worship.”

“The senseless taking of innocent life is only made more disturbing when people are targeted because of their beliefs and as they gather to pray … Our local community knows all too well the shock and horror of a massacre such as this,” Zubik said.

Although Zubik said such acts are intended to drive people apart, he said they can instead build up a community that is “stronger than hate.”

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