Monday, August 19, 2019 | ePaper

Many 'march for love' in NZ as mosques reopen

  • Print


Reuters, Christchurch :
About 3,000 people walked through Christchurch in a 'march for love' early on Saturday, honouring the 50 worshippers massacred in the New Zealand city a week ago, as the mosques where the shooting took place reopened for prayers.
Carrying placards with signs such as, "He wanted to divide us, he only made us stronger", "Muslims welcome, racists not", and "Kia Kaha" - Maori for 'stay strong', people walked mostly in silence or softly sang a Maori hymn of peace.
"We feel like hate has brought a lot of darkness at times like this and love is the strongest cure to light the city out of that darkness," said Manaia Butler, 16, one of the student organisers of the march.
With armed police on site, the Al Noor mosque, where more than 40 of the victims were killed by a suspected white supremacist, reopened on Saturday. Police said they were reopening the nearby Linwood mosque as well.
"It is the place where we pray, where we meet, we'll be back, yeah," Ashif Shaikh told reporters outside the Al Noor mosque. He said he was there on the day of the shooting in which two of his housemates were killed.
Most victims of the country's worst mass shooting were migrants or refugees from countries such as Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Somalia, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
At Saturday's march security was heavy, with dozens of armed police officers and buses parked sideways across city streets to close them off for the march.
Shila Nair, a migrant from India who works for a migrant advocacy group called Shakti, travelled from Auckland to take part in the march.
"The support gives us hope and optimism that migrant and refugee communities in this country can have a level playing field," she said.
"We appreciate the solidarity, but it must be carried on. It cannot be allowed to fizzle out. This is how social change happens." Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who swiftly denounced the shooting as terrorism and has participated in many of the tributes and funerals for the victims, has announced a ban on military-style semi-automatic and assault rifles, some of the guns used by the shooter.
Ardern and New Zealand have been widely praised for the outpouring of empathy and unity and the response to the attacks. Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum thanked her on Twitter late on Friday.
"Thank you @jacindaardern and New Zealand for your sincere empathy and support that has won the respect of 1.5 billion Muslims after the terrorist attack that shook the Muslim community around the world," he said on Twitter. Muslims account for just over 1 percent of New Zealand's 4.8-million population, a 2013 census showed, most of whom were born overseas. On Friday the Muslim call to prayer was broadcast nationwide on television and radio and about 20,000 people attended a prayer service in the park opposite Al Noor mosque in a show of solidarity.
Many women have also donned headscarves to show their support. In Mecca, Islam's holiest site, a special prayer was held after the Friday sermon for the victims of the attack, according to the Saudi news website Sabq. Most of the dead were laid to rest at a mass burial in Christchurch on Friday, when 26 victims were interred. Others have been buried at private ceremonies, or repatriated to their home countries for funerals. Shahadat Hossain, whose brother Mojammel Haque was killed in the attack, told Reuters that she would bring his body back to Bangladesh. "I don't know when our family will be able to come out of this grief," she said.

More News For this Category

Army man killed in Rangamati terror attack

Staff Reporter :An army man was killed in gun attack by miscreants on Sunday morning while on regular patrol duty in Payaitumukh area, four kilometers off Rangamati army camp, said

Breaking down of law and order is not terrorism: We do not need special unit

It is in the media that the Anti-Terrorism Unit (ATU) of the police along with 600 officials and members has been sitting almost idle for nearly two years as

6 of a family among 8 killed in Cumilla road crash

6 of a family among 8 killed in Cumilla road crash

Staff Reporter  :Six family members among eight persons were killed as a bus Tisha Paribahan rammed into a CNG-run auto-rickshaw in Lalmai upazila of Cumilla district on Sunday afternoon.The deceased

BB offer energises Hall-Mark to rejoin loan game

Kazi Zahidul Hasan :The controversial Hall-Mark Group has appealed to authorities for long-term restructuring of its Tk 2675.71 scandalous loans in light of a central bank's circular that offers easy

Dengue thrives on rain waters

Noman Mosharef :With the lingering monsoon, the number of dengue patients fluctuated in the last couple of days as the mosquito-borne disease is yet to be eased.The country is experiencing

Myanmar's ICOE meets FM; some questions remain unanswered

The visiting delegation of Myanmar's Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE) on Sunday met Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and discussed the Rohingya issue but kept questions related to their

Afghan wedding suicide blast kills 63: 182 injured

Afghan wedding suicide blast kills 63: 182 injured

KABUL (Reuters) :A suicide bomber killed 63 people and wounded 182 in an attack on a packed wedding reception in the Afghan capital, the interior ministry said on Sunday, as

Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar due today

Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar due today

Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will arrive in city today on a three-day official visit.Foreign Minister Dr A K Abdul Momen will receive his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar at

Restrictions reimposed in Kashmir: 8 injured

Restrictions reimposed in Kashmir: 8 injured

AFP,  Srinagar, India :Eight people have been injured during weekend protests in Kashmir's main city with authorities reimposing heavy restrictions to quell unrest in parts of the troubled region, officials

FS not yet confirm specific date

Staff Reporter :Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque has refused to confirm any specific date for the beginning of Rohingya repatriation from Cox's Bazar as reported by the international media.The Red