NEW YORK - Mosques around the United States increased security measures for Friday prayers after a gunman shot dead 49 people and wounded more than 40 at two New Zealand mosques.
Police in New York and other cities said they were stepping up patrols at mosques and other places of worship as a precaution, although there was no sign of any specific threat.
Nihad Awad, head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said at a Washington news conference that he urged Muslims who would be praying at the more than 3,000 mosques in the United States to "not abandon your mosques."
For years, American Muslims have become used to police patrols, active shooter drills and private security officers guarding mosques for Friday prayers. Security is often ramped up after mass shootings, some of which have taken place at houses of worship, including churches, a synagogue and a gurudwara.
CAIR, the largest Muslim rights group in the United States, said Muslims and other minority groups had faced a surge in bigotry since Donald Trump won the 2016 U.S. presidential election. A CAIR statement blamed this in part on what it described as "Islamophobic, white supremacist and racist Trump administration policies and appointments."