The leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community strongly condemned the massacre of Muslims in Christchurch in a statement yesterday (March 15).

Speaking from London, where the Ahmadiyya community have their UK headquarters, His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad offered condolences to the affected from Ahmadiyya Muslims the world over, and called for unity across cultural and religious differences.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said: "On behalf of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community worldwide, I express my deepest sympathies and condolences to all those affected by the barbaric terrorist attack that has taken place in Christchurch.

"Such heinous and utterly inhumane attacks must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. It is a grave tragedy that dozens of innocent Muslims have lost their lives whilst joining together for worship. All people, no matter their faith or belief, have the right to worship peacefully."

The statement came just one week after the Ahmadiyya community held its annual Peace Symposium at the Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden, South West London.

It came response to the terrorist attack against two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, where at least one far-right terrorist gunman shot and killed 49 Muslim worshippers during Friday prayer ceremonies, leaving more than 20 others injured.

At last week's Ahmadiyya Peace Symposium, which attracted hundreds of attendees from around the world, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad had cautioned against extremism and rising Islamophobia, arguing that "from the Islamic viewpoint, the best way to achieve peace is through unity."

Yesterday, he repeated this view and said he hoped the perpetrators would be brought to justice.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said: "This tragic event should serve as a lesson and warning to other countries of the developed world that we must join together to tackle all forms of racial, ethnic and religious hatred with wisdom and with a firm hand.

"Our heartfelt prayers are with the victims of these attacks and all those who have been affected. May the perpetrators of this evil act be promptly brought to justice."

On Friday, hours after news of the terrorist attack broke across the world, members of London's Ahmadiyya community gathered again at the Baitul Futuh Mosque, also known as the Morden Mosque, to offer their prayers for those affected by the Christchurch massacres.

Guest speakers included Inspector Bob Whitehead of Merton Police, who said: "Our thoughts are with those We hope we can learn from this experience and move forwards together in a loving and non-confrontational way."

Inspector Whitehead added that a heightened police presence around mosques in the area was in place for greater protection and as a gesture by law enforcement to show solidarity with Muslims in the area.