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Tory leader issues new statement on attacks including mention of Muslims

FILE - Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer speaks during a press conference in Toronto on Thursday, March 7, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has issued a revised statement on the terrorist attacks in New Zealand after being criticized for not mentioning that the attack was against Muslims at mosques during their Friday prayers.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims says in a statement that after the attacks in Christchurch and the Quebec City mosque shooting that killed six people during prayers in 2017, Muslims feel vulnerable and unsafe and that it is “essential” that political leaders call the attacks for what they are: Islamophobic terrorism.

The statement does not mention Scheer by name but he is the only Canadian political leader whose public response to the attacks did not mention either Muslims or mosques.

Former Conservative Maxime Bernier, now the leader of the People’s Party of Canada, hasn’t posted anything about the attacks at all.

In tweets and a Facebook post late Thursday evening, Scheer condemned an attack on freedom and “peaceful worshippers” but did not make note of the fact the worshippers were Muslims.

At mid-afternoon Friday Scheer’s new statement issued by email and posted to Facebook added mention of the fact two mosques were the targets and condemned a “cowardly and hateful attack on the Muslim community.”

The Canadian Press