"Terrorists will not divide us:" Knoxville Jewish Alliance condemns attacks

Photo: Nine News Australia / YouTube

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Knoxville Jewish Alliance released a statement condemning the Friday attack on two New Zealand mosques.

At least 49 people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers in an attack broadcast in horrifying, live video by an immigrant-hating white supremacist wielding at least two assault rifles and a shotgun.

One man was arrested and charged with murder, and two other armed suspects were taken into custody while police tried to determine what role they played.

"It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, noting that many of the victims could be migrants or refugees.

The attacks were felt far and wide as the Muslim Community of Knoxville reassured its members.

"We want to assure our members and followers that MCK has security measures in place during jumu'ah, as well as at our weekend events," officials with the community said in a post to Facebook. "Thanks to all those in our Knoxville community who have already reached out to offer love, support, and help!"

On Friday afternoon, the Knoxville Jewish Alliance condemned the violence against the victims of the New Zealand attacks.

"The Jewish community of Knoxville strongly condemns the deadly attack on Muslims at prayer in two New Zealand mosques," said Chip Rayman, the alliance's president.

"We stand together with our local Muslim community in mourning the innocent lives lost and recommit to working toward a future free of hate and violence. Terrorists will not divide us."

Rabbi Erin Boxt with Knoxville's Temple Beth El released a similar statement, "Temple Beth El of Knoxville, Tennessee strongly condemns the deadly attack on Muslims at prayer in two New Zealand mosques. We stand together with our local Muslim community hand in hand, and with peace-loving people around the world, in mourning the loss of life. We agree wholeheartedly with Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the President of the Union for Reform Judaism, as he said: "As the horrific reality of these attacks comes into clearer view, we mourn the innocent lives lost, & recommit to shaping a world of respect and tolerance, of safety & peace for all of God’s children. No exceptions."