A day of grieving and hope - a week on from attack

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Friday, 22 March 2019, 8:10AM
One week on from the Christchurch massacre, New Zealanders will stand together in two minutes' silence to remember those who were gunned down as they worshipped at two mosques in the city last Friday afternoon. Photo / Getty Images

It will be a call to prayer like none before in New Zealand today, as the nation honours the victims of our country's darkest day in modern times.

One week on from the Christchurch massacre, New Zealanders will stand together in two minutes' silence to remember those who were gunned down as they worshipped at two mosques in the city last Friday afternoon.

The haunting sounds of the Islamic adhan, or call to prayer, will be broadcast live across the country, including on nzherald.co.nz and Newstalk ZB. Later, some Auckland mosques will open their doors to any who want to join in remembrance.

Fifty people, of Muslim religion, died in the terrorist attack perpetrated by one accused gunman, and 48 were wounded, some critically, including a 4-year-old girl who is still fighting for her life.

Thousands are expected to gather in Hagley Park, opposite the Masjid Al Noor on Deans Ave before the Jummah Salah, or afternoon prayer, by 1.15pm.

Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at president, Bashir Khan, told Mike Hosking it will also be a day of hope.

"Those who have been martyred will be laid to rest, but it also gives us hope that it is also going to be a new beginning and for us basically for a new normal."

Graphic / NZHerald
Graphic / NZHerald

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will be at the reflection when the call to prayer sounds at 1.30pm, followed by two minutes' silence at 1.32pm.

Uninterrupted prayers will begin at 1.34pm. Ardern will depart at 2pm.

The funerals of the 50 victims, whose identification was completed yesterday, are expected to continue and a national memorial will take place next week.

Ardern said New Zealanders were encouraged to join in wherever they were.

"I know many New Zealanders wish to mark the week that has passed since the terrorist attack and to support the Muslim community as they return to mosques. How we choose to reflect during the silence will be different for each of us.

Flowers laid by mourners on a wall at the Botanical Gardens in Christchurch for the terror attack victims have become a symbol of the New Zealand's united grief. Photo / Vincent Thian
Flowers laid by mourners on a wall at the Botanical Gardens in Christchurch for the terror attack victims have become a symbol of the New Zealand's united grief. Photo / Vincent Thian

"Everyone should do what feels right for them, wherever they are — at home, at work, at school."

Around the country today, tributes will be paid at events and vigils as New Zealand's unity continues to shine through the tragedy.

More than 10,000 people are expected at the Auckland Domain for the Jummah Rememberance Vigil, starting at 6pm.

From 1.15pm at the Kilbirnie Mosque in Wellington, a human chain will be formed. There will be vigils in the Dunedin Octagon at 7pm, and at Geraldine, Nelson, Kapiti, Gisborne and Hamilton.

In Auckland, mosques in four corners of the city will open their doors to people of all faiths to remember the 50 lives lost. These are the Ponsonby Masjid, Ranui Mosque, North Shore Islamic Centre and Masjid Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq in Pakuranga. They will be open from 5pm to 8pm.

New Zealand Muslim Association president Ikhlaq Kashkari said this was also a chance to thank the community for its support, compassion and kindness in the aftermath of the attack.

Graphic / NZHerald
Graphic / NZHerald

"It is important now, more than ever, to show solidarity and band together with our brothers and sisters across the country."

In Muslim tradition, worshippers are called to five daily prayers by a formal announcement, recited over a loud speaker from the minaret tower of a mosque by the muezzin (the prayer leader).

Ponsonby Masjid assistant imam Iqdal Slaimankhel said it was not where worshippers prayed that was important, but when.

Slaimankhel, an Afghani whose son, Omar Slaimankhel, played rugby league for the Junior Warriors, said the call to prayer was about celebrating Allah [God] as greatest.

Kiwis are also being encouraged to participate in Headscarf for Harmony today, by donning a hijab in a show of solidarity with the Muslim community.

Organisers say there are no rules around what sort of headscarf to wear or how to wear it, rather it's simply a way for Kiwis to show their support for Muslim women in New Zealand.

The events in Christchurch are distressing. If you, or someone you know, needs mental wellbeing support or advice then call or text 1737 anytime, or visit health.govt.nz.

 

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