West Australian leaders are united in their message that hate and division have no place in the state after the “abhorrent act of violence” in New Zealand.
Premier Mark McGowan led the charge to condemn the terrorist attack in Christchurch while meeting with Islamic leaders in Perth on Sunday.
“What an abhorrent act of violence it was that took place on Friday. We must, all of us, condemn that sort of violence, and do everything we possibly can to prevent that sort of violence occurring here in Australia and especially here in Western Australia,” he said.
“We have made our society work the best of anywhere in the world and we can’t allow people to divide that, we can’t allow people to preach messages of hate or division or disgusting vile nasty racist commentary or actions.”
The comments came as it emerged the accused gunman visited WA as a tourist.
Brenton Tarrant flew into Perth in 2013 and hired a car. It has not been revealed how long he stayed in WA but police want to hear from anyone who met him.
His movements are being retraced but authorities say there’s no need for alarm.
New Zealand Consul Chris Ellison said the attack had “far-reaching implications”.
“It just shows somewhere like Christchurch …. you would think you’d be safe there but we aren’t safe anywhere in the world,” Mr Ellison said.
“We have got to embrace everybody in the community regardless of where they come from, regardless of their religion.”
Imam Mohammad Shakeeb said Australians live in a “peaceful, loving, multi-faith, multicultural society”, and acts of terror did not belong anywhere.
“Terrorism has no religion. It has no colour,” he said.
“It is something that we all have to work towards eradicating as a community with love, with dedication and genuine feeling in our hearts that we are truly Australian, we are neighbours and having love for each other and hoping that our community continues to remain safe.”
Western Australia Police Force Commissioner Chris Dawson said with the threat of terrorism in Australia slated as probable, all people must be vigilant.
“We must stand by our community irrespective of our faith, of our culture and our beliefs. We are Australian,” Commissioner Dawson said.
Extra patrols and safety measures around places of worship will occur, he added.