A nationwide moment of silence has been observed in New Zealand on Friday – ushered in by the Muslim call to prayer – a week after after 50 people were killed and scores of others wounded in an attack on two mosques by a Christian terrorist.

The prayer and two-minute reflection were were attended by almost 20,000 people, including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, gathered metres from the Al Noor mosque in the city of Christchurch for Muslim Friday prayers.

Al Noor was one of the two places of worship targeted in the city during the worst mass shooting in New Zealand’s modern history, allegedly carried out by Australian-born Brenton Tarrant, along with the Linwood mosque.

Prior to the prayers, Ardern quoted the Prophet Muhammad during a brief address to the crowd.
“When any part of the body suffers, the whole body feels pain,” said Ardern, wearing a black headscarf. “New Zealand mourns with you, we are one.”

Remembrance ceremonies and public vigils took place across the Pacific nation on Friday.
Imam Gamal Fouda, prayer leader at the Al Noor mosque who was present during last week’s attack, told mourners in Christchurch he “saw hatred and rage in the eyes of the terrorist”.

“Today, from the same place, I look out and I see the love of and compassion in the eyes of thousands of fellow New Zealanders and human beings from across the globe,” Fouda said.

“We have shown that New Zealand is unbreakable, and the world can see in us an example of love and unity. We are broken-hearted, but we are not broken.”

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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