Ex-pastor makes show of solidarity with Muslims outside Sunderland mosque after terrorist attack kills 49 in New Zealand
A Christian and former pastor has shown solidarity with Muslims in Sunderland following the terrorist attack in New Zealand which saw 49 people killed.
Mass shootings were carried out at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers in Christchurch in an attack broadcast in horrifying live video by an immigrant-hating white nationalist wielding at least two rifles.
One man was arrested and charged with murder, while two other armed suspects were taken into custody while police tried to determine what role they played.
The gunman behind at least one of the mosque shootings left a 74-page manifesto that he posted on social media under the name Brenton Tarrant, identifying himself as a 28-year-old Australian and white nationalist who was out to avenge attacks in Europe by Muslims.
Former pastor Ed Morrow admits he broke down in tears thinking of the horror incident after seeing news reports earlier in the day.
It inspired him to go to Sunderland's Jami-Masjid mosque, in Chester Road, with a sign saying: "This Christian stands against racism and violence against all Muslims."
A picture of him and those attending prayers at the mosque became widely shared online.
Ed says he wants others to follow his lead and support Muslims in their local communities.
Ed, 61, told the Echo: "I saw what happened in New Zealand on the news and then there was something on Twitter from the Archbishop of Canterbury saying that everyone should go and express solidarity with Muslims.
"I didn't think much of it, but I was sitting having a coffee in the city centre and to be honest I burst into tears over it.
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"It's not OK that you can't go to a place of worship without being shot at.
"I felt compelled to do something so I managed to make the sign and come down here to express some love and compassion.
"People came over and took pictures with me, so I had a great reaction.
"What people were saying is that we need to show some positivity towards Muslims at this time.
"I didn't expect what I did to be so well talked about it, but it has.
"I'm really pleased with the warmth I've had from people."
Ed, who lives close to the Jami-Masjid mosque, added that he would like to see more support for Muslims in the coming weeks.
"What has happened is awful," he said.
"People are attacking each other on the basis of their religion and that is just wrong.
"I've got friends in Christchurch, it's such a lovely place, so I have a connection with there."