The Prince George RCMP are increasing their patrols in the area of the city’s Islamic Centre.

This comes as an immediate response following a shooting in New Zealand that killed 49 people at two mosques on Friday, March 15.

Understandably, the events have left the Prince George Muslim Association and its community reeling.

“The video distributed around is very, very disturbing. People are praying, and this person, I don’t know if I could call him a person – he’s a terrorist, decided to kill innocent people while praying,” Mostafa Muhammad, Chairperson of the Association told MyPGNow’s Cole Kelly on Friday.

Craig Douglass, Spokesperson for the RCMP, acknowledges the concern the Muslim community is feeling in the wake of these horrific events.

“They certainly are concerned, as I imagine most Muslims would be concerned as to what took place in New Zealand,” Douglass told MyPGNow. “We’re concerned, although there is no direct threats linked to our local Muslim community, we are definitely going to exercise extra vigilance and patrols in the area.”

The Muslim community in Prince George remains with the belief that Prince George is a safe place, and the RCMP are making their efforts be known in order to reassure the public regarding the safety in the community.

“There have been other incidents throughout the world in relation to the Muslim community that have caused a similar reaction from us here locally at the Prince George detachment,” says Douglass. “In those incidents, there have not been any negative things that have happened. We’re fortunate for that, and we believe that this will be no different.”

The Prince George RCMP released a statement following the events in New Zealand:

Our sympathies go out to the people affected by the tragic incident in New Zealand.

Although some mosques may have an increased frontline policing presence following this event, we are not aware of any specific threats and continue to exercise increased vigilance.  We are reaching out to the local Muslim community to identify whether they have any specific safety or security concerns.

We are also asking for members of the public to report anything suspicious to the police.  The Prince George RCMP encourage all victims of hate crime to report these incidents to police or community leaders so the appropriate steps can be taken to address the needs of the victim and take action against the offender.

Anyone with information about possible criminal threats to national security is encouraged to immediately call the RCMP’s National Security Information Network at 1-800-420-5805.