After the shootings that left 49 people dead in two mosques in New Zealand, Chicago authorities are on high alert.
The Chicago Police Department tweeted, “Special attention will be given to Chicago mosques as a precaution.” However, Chicago officials stated that there were “no known threats” to the city.
Mayor Rahm Emmanuel stated that an attack on any place of worship is “an attack on all places of worship.”
“It shouldn’t be lost on anyone that, following the attack on the synagogue in Pittsburgh, the first community that spoke up and offered support was the Muslim community. The first group that offered financial support was the Muslim community. I was all of our Muslim brothers and sisters to know that Chicago welcomes them and welcomes their sincerity of prayer for our common humanity.”
Emergency Management and the Cook County Department of Homeland Security is asking members of the public to be on the lookout for any suspicious behavior. This includes vehicles parked in odd areas or any unattended bags or packages.
According to DHSEM Executive Director William Barnes, “Our residents are our first line of defense in identifying and reporting any threats to public safety. Always be aware of your surroundings and do not hesitate to alert authorities to anything that appears unusual or out of place.”
If anyone notices unusual behavior, or items is asked to call the department’s “If You See Something, Say Something” anti-terrorism campaign at (855) 777-8274.
On Friday, March 15, 2019, the Council on American-Islamic Relations called for increased security at schools, mosques, and community centers.
“In the wake of this tragedy, we urge mosques, Islamic schools and other community institutions in the United States and around the world to take stepped-up security precautions, particularly during times of communal prayer,” stated CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.
CAIR condemned the anti-Muslim hate and anti-immigrant hate that appears to have motivated the attacks.
Additionally, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago condemned the attacks in a statement and asked for the international community to “renounce and ideology that seeks to justify the murder of people based solely upon their faith.”
By Jeanette Smith
Chcago Sun-Times: Police on alert for threats to Chicago mosques after New Zealand shootings
Image Courtesy of Lenka Reznicek’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License