On Friday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern joined about 20,000 people standing quietly at Hagley Park, in front of the Al Noor mosque, who had gathered to remember the 50 people killed by Australia-based terrorist Brenton Tarrant at two mosques in Christchurch city a week ago.
In her brief speech after the Friday congregation, Ms. Ardern quoted hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), saying, “According to Prophet Mohammed, 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.”
“New Zealand mourns with you, we are one,” she added. Her speech was followed by two minutes of silence. The Azaan also rang out nationwide, followed by two minutes of silence.
While the call was broadcast around the country, AFP reported that thousands of people – including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern – stood silently in a park opposite the mosque where the killing began, as the country of 4.5 million came to a standstill.
Videos of people perform traditional Maori haka dance, and to form lines behind Muslims to symbolically protect them while they pray, were also widely shared on social media platforms.
An imam issued the call to regular Friday prayer at 1.30 pm (0030 GMT) with chants of “Allahu Akbar” as thousands listened in Christchurch’s Hagley Park across from the Al Noor Mosque.
The country then fell silent for two minutes, with public gatherings in Auckland, Wellington, and other cities. In neighboring Australia, people stopped in the streets and in shops to mark the moment. (Inputs from AFP)