One community that suffered its own mass shooting in 2018 offered sympathy and solidarity Friday to a city across the globe where it has happened again.
Rudwan Abu-rumman, president of the Anne Arundel County Muslim Council, said his organization stands with Muslims around the world in condemning the murder of 49 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
“May Allah be with the victims and their families, and may He guide us through this time of sorrow,” he wrote.
The latest mass shooting took place at mosques full of worshipers attending Friday prayers.
One man was arrested and charged with murder in what appeared to be a carefully planned racist attack. Police also defused explosive devices in a car.
Two other armed suspects were being held in custody. Police said they were trying to determine how they might be involved.
The attack came nine months after Annapolis and Anne Arundel County suffered through a mass shooting, the June 28 attack on the Capital Gazette newsroom. Rob Hiaasen, Gerald Fischman, Wendi Winters, John McNamara and Rebecca Smith were killed when a gunman stormed the newsroom with a shotgun.
Thursday, lawyers for the Laurel man charged with their murder and other crimes informed a county judge that they would need more time to consider changing his plea from not guilty to not criminally responsible by reason of insanity.
Anne Arundel County police said Friday morning that they have provided extra security at three Islamic worship centers in Annapolis, Gambrills and Pasadena.
“We are doing extra patrols during the day (especially) during prayer times,” said Sgt. Jacklyn Davis, county police spokeswoman.
Abu-rumman, who said he spoke with police Friday morning, was grateful.
“We also want to thank local law enforcement for continuing to protect the county’s large and diverse religious community as we go to our houses of worship to find peace and strength in this time of heartbreak,” he wrote.
Words of support for Christchurch, which at a population of less than 400,000 is smaller than Anne Arundel County, also came from local government leaders.
“We understand, firsthand, the devastating impacts mass shootings have on the families of victims, survivors and the community as a whole,” Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley said in a statement released by his office.
“It is important to recognize that hate never solves a problem. Gun violence never solves a problem. I believe, if we work together (as Connecticut has recently done), we can find solutions to prevent future mass shootings.”
The Connecticut Supreme Court on Thursday reinstated a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the families of nine victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting against Remington Arms, the manufacturer of the rifle used in the shooting.
County Executive Steuart Pittman said Muslims headed to prayer in Anne Arundel County Friday would not be alone.
“I want them to know that we are praying with them. We are praying and we are working for a future when people judge one another not by their country of origin, the color of their skin, or their manner of worship — but by the love that is in their hearts.”