- New Zealanders from across the country observed a national moment of silence exactly one week after a shooting in Christchurch claimed the lives of 50 people.
- The two minutes of silence began at 1:32 p.m. local time on Friday, following the Muslim call to prayer, which was broadcast on television and radio stations around the country.
- Thousands of people gathered in Hagley Park for the prayers. The park is located directly across from the Al Noor mosque where 43 people were killed. Seven people were killed at the nearby Linwood mosque.
- See moving photos from the moment of silence.
New Zealanders from across the country observed a national moment of silence exactly one week after a shooting in Christchurch claimed the lives of 50 people.
The two minutes of silence began at 1:32 p.m. local time on Friday, following the Muslim call to prayer, which was broadcast on television and radio stations around the country. Friday prayer services commenced shortly after.
Thousands of people gathered in Hagley Park for the prayers. The park is located directly across from the Al Noor mosque where 43 people were killed. Seven people were killed at the nearby Linwood mosque. Mourners formed human chains around Muslim worshippers, and some women wore headscarves in solidarity.
Thousands of people from across New Zealand came to Christchurch to show their support.
Thousands of worshippers in Christchurch’s Hagley Park for Friday prayers pic.twitter.com/n3RP1L1XAw
— Martin Fricker (@martinfricker) March 22, 2019
Fahim Imam from Auckland, New Zealand told the Associated Press that he flew in for the service that morning.
“It’s just amazing to see how the country and the community have come together – blows my mind, actually,” he said.
“The moment I landed in Christchurch, I could feel the love here. I’ve never felt more proud to be a Muslim, or a Kiwi for that matter. It makes me really happy to be able to say that I’m a New Zealander,” he added.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visited Christchurch for the third time since the shooting, and she and was present for the services.
“The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion, and sympathy are just like one body. When any part of the body suffers, the whole body feels pain,” Ardern told the crowd, quoting the Muslim Prophet Mohammed.
“New Zealand mourns with you, we are one,” she added.
Crowds fell silent as the call to prayer began.
The call to prayer echoes over Christchurch a week after the twin mosque massacre by a white supremacist. A remarkable sight and a powerful rebuke to the hatred unleashed that day pic.twitter.com/SsqNvQsfa6
— Jerome Taylor (@JeromeTaylor) March 22, 2019
Victims and mourners gathered in unity.
— Calla Wahlquist (@callapilla) March 22, 2019
Emotions were still raw.
Armed guards stood watch around the Al Noor mosque, which remains closed.
Linwood Avenue, where the second mosque is located, was closed off as huge crowds of people gathered to observe the moment of silence.
Dozens of people stood to observe the moment of silence at nearby memorials for the victims.
Many women wore headscarves in solidarity with the worshippers, including Prime Minister Ardern.
The moment of silence lasted two minutes, and it was observed nationally, and in some other parts of the world, including Australia.
The entire nation stood still.
Prayers began after the moment of silence was observed.
Imam Gamal Fouda, who was leading the Friday prayers at Hagley Park, told the crowd the following:
“Last Friday, I stood in this mosque and saw hatred and rage in the eyes of a terrorist who killed and martyred 50 innocent people, wounded 42, and broke the hearts of millions around the world.
“Today, from the same place I look out and I see the love and compassion in the eyes of thousands of fellow New Zealanders and human beings from across the globe that fill the hearts of millions more who are not with us physically, but in spirit.
“This terrorist sought to tear our nation apart with an evil ideology that has torn the world apart – but instead we have shown that New Zealand is unbreakable and that the world can see in us an example of love and unity.
“We are brokenhearted, but we are not broken.”
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