SAN ANTONIO — Following the deadly attacks on mosques in New Zealand, the Islamic Center of San Antonio is calling for education to bridge gaps and build respect.

"It’s a tragedy but if you think about it- for all the times and places we could depart, we could leave this world, these people left while they were worshipping God," said Outreach Coordinator Michael Martin.

In times like these, he says it's easy to get angry, but it's smarter to turn toward peace and knowledge. He hopes more people will reach out to learn about Islam, as his mosque holds visits for churches and schools to gain a better understanding of the religion.

"We can’t get rid of the hatred and intolerance I don’t think, but we can hopefully teach people a little bit and change some hearts," Martin said.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg released a statement Friday, saying:

"We mourn for our friends in New Zealand after this act of terrorism & pray for the families of the at least 49 killed & the Muslim community. We condemn all forms of hatred & bigotry including Islamophobia & racism. We stand united against fear & share compassion toward all."