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New Zealand Shooting: Thousands join Muslims in Friday prayers a week after mass shooting

New Zealand women ware headscarves to support Muslims.

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — It has been a week since a gunman spouting anti-immigrant hate stormed into two mosques in Christchurch, killing 50 people and transforming New Zealand. The funerals have only just started.

Yet the country has moved with astonishing speed in response to the tragedy. Exactly a week after the attacks, hundreds of Muslims were joined by thousands of other New Zealanders, including the prime minister, for Friday prayers. The call to prayer rang out across Hagley Park, opposite the Al Noor Mosque, where 42 people were killed.

“We are brokenhearted, but we are not broken,” Imam Gamal Fouda, who survived the attacks, told the crowd. “We are alive, we are together, we are determined to not let anyone divide us.”

On Thursday, the government banned military-style weapons and began to rewrite gun laws with support from across the political spectrum and with the backing of many lobbying groups associated with gun use.

Meanwhile, women all over New Zealand put on headscarves on Friday to show solidarity with Muslims a week after 50 people were killed at two mosques in the city of Christchurch.

Women wearing headscarves as tribute to the victims of the mosque attacks are seen before Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.

A doctor in Auckland, Thaya Ashman, came up with the idea to encourage people to wear a headscarf after hearing about a woman who was too scared to go out as she felt her headscarf would make her a target for terrorism.

“I wanted to say: ‘We are with you, we want you to feel at home on your own streets, we love, support and respect you’,” Ashman said.

As Christchurch geared up for prayers at a park in front of the Al Noor mosque, where most of the victims were killed last week, women in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch posted pictures of themselves in headscarves, some with children in headscarves, too.

“Why am I wearing a headscarf today? Well, my primary reason was that if anybody else turns up waving a gun, I want to stand between him and anybody he might be pointing it at. And I don’t want him to be able to tell the difference, because there is no difference,” said Bell Sibly, in Christchurch.

Source: Washington Post and Renters News

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