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Police increase security around area mosques after New Zealand terrorist attack

A police vehicle is parked outside the Islamic Center of Washington, Friday, March 15, 2019 in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Police are increasing patrols around area mosques following the mass shooting at a mosque in New Zealand.

“Millions of people will be in mosques in the next couple of hours, concerned and fearful for their lives,” said Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Awad joined colleagues at the civil rights advocacy group responding to the attacks on two Christchurch, New Zealand, mosques urging strength and solidarity among Muslims who may be fearful to worship during Friday weekly prayer.

“We tell our community, do not be afraid. Do not abandon your mosques. Not today, not ever,” he said.

Police in D.C. and Fairfax and Montgomery counties are joining other area law enforcement which have increased patrols around area mosques following the mass shooting.

“We have full confidence in local and federal authorities to provide the necessary security and assurance for our communities to go to mosques and not to be afraid,” Awad said.

Law enforcement agencies did not want to say where or for how long they plan to increase patrols.

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