Hundreds visit New Zealand mosque as it reopens for first time since mass shooting

Police cordon removal began attracting crowds and spurred mosque reopening

People gather outside the Al Noor Mosque after the main road that runs alongside it was opened to traffic in Christchurch on March 23, 2019. - Muslims prayed at Christchurch's main mosque for the first time since a white supremacist massacred worshippers there as New Zealand sought to return to normality after the tragedy.
People gather outside the Al Noor Mosque after the main road that runs alongside it was opened to traffic in Christchurch on March 23, 2019. - Muslims prayed at Christchurch's main mosque for the first time since a white supremacist massacred worshippers there as New Zealand sought to return to normality after the tragedy.

Worshippers have visited a New Zealand mosque as it reopened for the first time after dozens of people died there in a mass shooting.

Hundreds of people stopped at the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch to lay flowers or pray after police removed a cordon and those running the mosque decided to reopen.

Inside the mosque, there were few signs of the carnage from eight days earlier.

Crews had replaced windows that worshippers smashed in a desperate attempt to escape the attack during Friday prayers. Bullet holes were plastered over and painted.

Shagat Khan, the president of the Muslim Association of Canterbury, said they had not planned to open the mosque so soon but when they saw the crowds gathering after the police cordon was removed, they decided to allow people to enter in managed groups "so the mosque will be alive again".

"Those who lost their families are of course quite emotional," he said. "And those who were present here during the incident, of course the memories come back. The flashbacks."

A total of 50 people were killed at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15, in the nation's worst terrorist attack.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged with murder and is scheduled to make his next court appearance on April 5.

Abdullahi Ibrahim Diriye, the uncle of the youngest victim of the shooting, three-year-old Mucaad Ibrahim, visited the mosque with the boy's father.

"Always he was a happy boy, and he liked every person he met, not only Muslims," Mr Diriye said.

Women in New Zealand wear headscarves to show solidarity with Christchurch shooting victims

Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, who travelled to New Zealand to pay his respects, hugged a man at the entrance of the mosque and told him to "be patient".

"He was crying deeply from his heart for a loved one he had lost," the prince later explained. "And I was saying, this is God's will, be patient. Because only through patience can you endure."

Prince Hassan said in the Middle East there have been wars every decade.

Jacinda Ardern announces that New Zealand will ban all semi-automatic weapons

"To feel that this form of violence and cruelty is visited on you, living in this idyllic part of the world, is deeply, deeply moving," he said.

Human dignity is being assailed on all fronts by extremists, he said, and people need to stand together as human beings.

Officials say four Jordanian nationals died in the attack, while a four-year-old Jordanian girl is also recovering in an Auckland hospital.

Associated Press

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in