LEADERS of the Muslim, Christian and Jewish faiths have united in prayer today for victims of the terrorist attack on two mosques in New Zealand.

Forty-nine people have been killed in mass shootings at the mosques in Christchurch, which were full of worshippers attending Friday prayers, with another 48 people being treated for gunshot wounds.

A man is to appear in court in charged with murder and authorities have detained three other people – two men and a woman – and defused explosive devices in what appeared to be a carefully planned attack.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called it “one of New Zealand’s darkest days” and said the incident represented “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.”

Non-Muslim York residents headed to York Mosque this morning to show solidarity with the Muslim community following the atrocity, as leaders of three major faiths all spoke out in support of the victims.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, tweeted that his prayers were with everyone in Christchurch, saying he was last in the beautiful garden city after the earthquakes, which was a natural hazard.

"But this is a deliberate act of hatred for which there is never an excuse or reason," he said.

He added: "I share a common heritage of the Abrahamic faith with our Muslim sisters and brothers and my prayers go to their families and community.

"The whole of NZ grieves, as we all do. We are all bound together by our common humanity, united in our longings for peace and hope."

Abid Salik, Imam of York Mosque, in Bull Lane, said many non-Muslim York people, who were friends of the mosque, had come down there this morning to show their support for the Muslim community in the wake of the atrocity.

He said it was essential for 'unity, solidarity and togetherness' after the 'horrific terrorist attacks.'

A mosque spokesman, Mebs Surve, added: "To God we belong and to God we will one day return. Our thoughts and prayers go to the victims and their families."

A spokesman for York Liberal Jewish Community said it 'stands in solidarity with all those who have lost their lives and suffered in New Zealand’s terrorist attack against the Muslim community.

"Our hearts go out to all the victims and those affected by these terrible events. We will be praying for all those affected in our Shabbat service tomorrow."

Liberal Judaism's Chief Rabbi Danny Rich said:"Our first thoughts are with the grieving families and those injured in this abhorrent terrorist attack.

"Everyone at @LiberalJudaism stands in solidarity with them and the entire Muslim community. This slaughter of Muslim worshippers at prayer is grotesque and offensive.

"As a Jewish community, we are regrettably experienced in the murder of our own worshippers in synagogues and this attack reminds us that intolerance - whether from people who proclaim themselves to be on the right or the left - needs to be defeated.

"It must be defeated by the unity of all persons of good faith, whether they follow a particular religion or not."