WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - Mosques and Islamic centers throughout the DMV are stepping up security in the wake of a mass shooting in two New Zealand mosques that took the lives of nearly 50 people on Friday.
Officials in both Montgomery County and Prince William County say they are increasing security at Muslim worship centers, and the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office established a visible presence at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center in Sterling, Va.
"Our community's definitely shaken up. We weren't expecting to hear anything like this, but we know where the world is going these days and we're trying to work together to make people try and understand that these kinds of things are not accepted, and places of worship are not - and should not - be targets," said ADAMS Center spokesperson Hurunnessa Fariad.
Fariad said the ADAMS Center - which is the largest mosque in the DMV, and in Virginia - has been working to expand its security recently.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations in D.C. offered a statement following the events in New Zealand:
"(We) urge leaders in our nation and worldwide to speak out forcefully against the growing anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant hate that appears to have motivated these white supremacist terrorists. We urge mosques, Islamic schools, and other community institutions in the United States and around the world to take stepped up security precautions particularly during times of communal prayer."