Sanders visits Islamic center following New Zealand mosque shooting

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGun control: Campaigning vs. legislating Booker defends middle-ground health care approach: 'We're going to fight to get there' Sunday shows preview: Democratic candidates make the rounds after debate MORE (I-Vt.) visited an Islamic center on Saturday to reflect on the recent mosque shootings in New Zealand in which 50 people were killed.

The Democratic presidential candidate joined imams, rabbis and pastors at the Islamic Center of Southern California for the event, his campaign said in a release.

“In this difficult moment, not only in American history where we see a rise in hate crimes, and not only in a world where we see a growing tendency toward authoritarianism, where demagogues are picking on minority communities all over this world, now is the time … for us to stand up to hatred of all kinds," Sanders said during the event.

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"To show the world that this nation in fact will be a leader in bringing our people together regardless of their religion, and to create an economy that works for all of us, an environment that works for all of us, and a world in which love will conquer hate,” he added.

Sanders's campaign touted that the Vermont senator's visit on Saturday made him the highest-ranking American official and first presidential candidate to visit a mosque in the wake of the shooting last week.

Several interfaith leaders from Southern California also attended the event held in the wake of the mass shooting earlier this month in Christchurch, New Zealand. 

The suspected shooter in the attack reportedly posted an anti-Muslim manifesto online around the time of the shooting.

Sanders is one of several prominent politicians competing for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Other Democratic hopefuls, including South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, have expressed support for U.S. Muslims in the wake of the attack.