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NYC Remembers Victims In New Zealand Mosque Attacks

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Victims of the mosque massacres in New Zealand were remembered Sunday at vigils held in Manhattan and Queens.

It came as area mosques continued to beef up security in response to Friday's shootings, CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reported.

Police are still on high alert outside mosques in the city in the wake of the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that left 50 people dead.

In a show of solidarity with the victim's and their families, an interfaith vigil was held at the Jamaica Muslim Center in Queens.

New Zealand terror attacks
People visit the flower wall at the Botanic Gardens as the sun rises on March 18, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand. Fifty people were killed, and dozens were injured after a gunman opened fire on two Christchurch mosques three days earlier. The attack is the worst mass shooting in New Zealand's history. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

"Once again, we are deeply saddened by what had happened in New Zealand two days ago," one community leader said. "It's time to come to our common ground that terrorism is indeed our common enemy."

In Christchurch, memorials continue to grow outside the houses of worship where police said the lone gunman, 28-year-old Brenton Terrant of Australia, opened fire.

"Your support is overwhelming. I just want you to know that," Australian Islamic cleric Abu Hamza said. "And we're not going to allow a few fanatics to divide our community. We're one."

MORENYPD Steps Up Security At Mosques Across City In Wake Of New Zealand Shootings

Terrant's family spoke publicly about the massacres and his alleged involvement, saying they're shocked and devastated.

"We're all gobsmacked. We don't know what to think," said Marie Fitzgerald, the suspect's grandmother.

"We say sorry for the families over there, for the dead and the injured. Yeah, we just can't think nothing else, just want to go home and hide," added uncle Terry Fitzgerald.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her cabinet will be considering ways to prevent another mass shooting, including banning semi-automatic weapons.

The attacker reportedly adhered to a white nationalist ideology that painted immigrants as "invaders."

Back in New York, local, political and spiritual leaders rallied in Washington Heights, to make clear there's no room for that way of thinking here.

"Today we are standing here as a symbol that we will not be divided, that we will choose to love one another, to take care of one another in the face of hate," Assemblywoman Carmen De La Rosa said.

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