Muslim rights advocate: People feel 'scared' going to mosques after New Zealand shooting

Civil rights attorney Zahra Billoo told Hill.TV's "Rising" on Tuesday that Muslims in the U.S. feel scared going to mosques following last month's deadly shooting in New Zealand.

"People are scared," said Billoo, who also serves as executive director of the San Francisco chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "The conversation following New Zealand a couple of weeks ago was, 'Do we need to increase armed security at mosques?'"

"Mosques have already been looking at and using private security following the attack on the gurdwara in Wisconsin a number of years ago," she added, referring to a 2012 shooting at a Sikh temple outside Milwaukee that left six people dead.

Fifty people were killed last month when a gunman opened fire at two New Zealand mosques. The suspected shooter reportedly posted an anti-Muslim manifesto online shortly before the massacre.

"But following New Zealand, that morning, there was a rush to say, 'OK, can we get increased police patrols? How much more security can we hire?' There are conversations happening about whether people want to have more and more individuals with concealed-carry weapons at mosques," Billoo said. "There is a shift in how safe people feel in their places of worship. And then that's aggravated by the language of the president and by the policies he's putting forward, because who do you call for help when you're afraid of a hate crime if it is also the police and the government who are attacking you?"

— Julia Manchester