Marking a week since the terrible events that happened in Christchurch last Friday, New Zealanders came together today in a day of nationwide reflection to pay tribute to the victims and show support to the Muslim community. This follows a week of mourning that has seen an outpour of response from the local community, with people of various races and religions banding together to grieve the tragedy, provide support for those affected and to stand together in defiance of the senseless tragedy.
Credit: @muslimatpas on Instagram
The Press, a national newspaper in New Zealand, published today's edition with a simple front page showing the word Salam (the Arab word for peace), along with the names of those who had lost their lives in the incident.
The azan (Muslim call to prayer) was broadcast nationally across television and radio and was followed by a 2-minute period of silence. All across New Zealand, thousands of Kiwis of multiple races and faiths gathered in front of mosques to collectively observe the moment.
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In Hagley Park, a park located near Al Noor Mosque (one of the two mosques that were attacked), thousands gathered to observe the moment, including Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern, who was present as the azan was broadcast and the period of silence was observed at 1.30pm (New Zealand time). Friday prayers were also held.
Credit: @sumishanaidu on Twitter
Many Kiwis today are also wearing headscarves as a show of solidarity, taking to social media using the hashtags #headscarfforharmony and #scarvesorsolidarity to show themselves standing in support of Muslim women and the Muslim community in this tragic hour.
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This includes a now-famous image of a New Zealand women officer wearing a headscarf as she stood guard as burials of the first victims were held on Thursday afternoon. More of those will be buried following the Friday prayers today.
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In addition to today's reflection, the Prime Minister has also announced that planning is continuing for a National Memorial Service, which will be held in Christchurch next week.
New Zealand continues to show strength and solidarity as it goes through the aftermath of one of the darkest days in its recent history. Rather than divide, the incident has brought together people of different faiths to stand united in love and peace. As the Prime Minister said when addressing the Muslim community at today's event at Hagley Park: "New Zealand mourns with you, we are one."