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Local Muslim community reacts after deadly New Zealand shooting

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) - Topeka's Muslim community is wondering whether they'll ever feel protected in a place meant to feel safe after 50 people were killed and almost another 50 were injured in two New Zealand mosques on Friday.

The deadly attack sent shockwaves around the world, hitting the Muslim community in Topeka. 

"Woke up yesterday morning 5:30 the first [thing] on my phone it said '49 killed in a mosque'," said Hakim Saadi. "That really sent chills, I mean because you know not because it's a mosque it's a house of God where people pray." 

The following day they woke up to flowers at the door of the mosque. 

"Whether it's a church or a synagogue or a temple or a mosque, people pray," said Saadi. 

Hakim Saadi said it's the first time he's seen flowers on the mosque door in his six years of practicing with the Islamic Center of Topeka. 

Imam Omar Hazim opened this mosque in 1990. He said these hateful attacks always hit home. 

"It affects Muslims all over the world, when any Muslim is killed, whether it be in New Zealand, New York Topeka or wherever," said Hazim. 

They said they have security cameras, but that won't necessarily stop an attack here. 

"I know that there are other members of this community and I'm sure other communities and they have greater concerns about the safety of this place and other places," said Hazim. 

He said members of the mosque have helped act as security in the past. 

Saadi also works as treasurer for the Islamic Center and said hiring security would require additional funding. 

"It costs money to have security too so that is not cheap," said Saadi.

They said that they are grateful to have support and aid from law enforcement in Topeka.

 


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