News reached us this morning of the heartbreaking atrocity committed in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand overnight. It is unbearable to think that those attending a place of worship and prayer can face such horrific violence.

This attack has caused pain and suffering to the Muslim community in New Zealand and across the world. And it is an atrocity which hurts us all. As Jacinda Ardern – President of New Zealand – said this morning to the New Zealand Muslim community, ‘you are us, and we are you.’

This morning, the Speaker of the House of Commons expressed his sympathies and solidarity with Muslims in New Zealand and across the world. I send my condolences to everyone affected by this terrible act of violence, and to Muslims here in Bristol I extend my sympathy and my friendship.

Everyone should be able to convene in a place of worship without fear of intimidation, hatred, or violence. I am in contact with Avon and Somerset police today to establish what response we can make locally, and I extend my solidarity to everyone gathering for Friday prayers in Bristol today.

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