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BANGKOK 18 April 2019 23:55
Jonathan Fairfield

'We are one' says PM Ardern as New Zealand mourns with prayers, silence

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'We are one' says PM Ardern as New Zealand mourns with prayers, silence

By Tom Westbrook

 

2019-03-22T012100Z_1_LYNXNPEF2L04Z_RTROPTP_4_NEWZEALAND-SHOOTOUT.JPG

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern leaves after the Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

 

CHRISTCHURCH (Reuters) - The Muslim call to prayer sounded out over Christchurch and around New Zealand on Friday, as thousands gathered to remember the 50 people killed by a lone gunman at two mosques a week ago.

 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern joined about 20,000 people standing quietly at Hagley Park, in front of the Al Noor mosque where most of the victims were killed during Friday prayers last week.

 

"New Zealand mourns with you. We are one," she said in a short speech, followed by two minutes of silence.

 

Most victims of New Zealand's worst mass shooting were migrants or refugees from countries such as Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Somalia, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

 

"We are broken-hearted, but we are not broken. We are alive, we are together, we are determined to not let anyone divide us," Imam Gamal Fouda told the crowd, many wearing headscarves in support of the grieving Muslim community.

 

"To the families of the victims, your loved ones did not die in vain. Their blood has watered the seeds of hope," he said in prayers broadcast nationally.

 

Tens of thousands of people paid their respects around the country with some forming human chains in front of mosques. Others said silent prayers at schools, cafes and even offices.

 

In Christchurch, relatives of the victims and other mourners thronged into a cemetery where 27 of the victims were laid to rest in a mass burial.

 

“This is a special janazah. We don’t do these every day," one mourner said over a microphone, referring to an Islamic funeral prayer.

 

"We don’t bury 27 of our brothers and sisters every day.”

 

The first to be laid to rest was Naeem Rashid, who was hailed as a hero, killed trying to tackle the gunman at the Al Noor mosque.

 

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, has been charged with one murder following the Christchurch attack and was remanded without a plea.

 

He is due back in court on April 5, when police said he was likely to face more charges.

 

ISLAMOPHOBIA

 

Ardern, who swiftly denounced the shooting as terrorism, announced a ban on military-style semi-automatic and assault rifles on Thursday.

 

She came to Hagley Park surrounded by ministers and security officials, wearing a black headscarf and a black suit. Female police at the park also wore headscarves, with a red rose on their uniforms.

 

In a powerful speech that lasted about 20 minutes, the imam, Fouda, said through its love and compassion, New Zealand was unbreakable.

 

"We are here in our hundreds and thousands unified for one purpose – that hate will be undone, and love will redeem us," he said.

 

He thanked Ardern for her compassion, saying: "It has been a lesson for world leaders."

 

Fouda also denounced Islamophobia, saying it had killed people.

 

"Islamophobia is real. It is a targeted campaign to influence people to dehumanise and irrationally fear Muslims. To fear what we wear, to fear the choice of food we eat, to fear the way we pray and to fear the way we practice our faith," he said.

 

Muslims account for just over 1 percent of New Zealand's population.

 

Many women wore headscarves in New Zealand as a sign of support to the community, and a #headscarfforharmony movement was trending on Twitter.

 

"We are wearing headscarves showing our support, love and solidarity, and hope that by everybody doing this it will demonstrate to Muslim women ... that they are one with us," said Robyn Molony, 65, with a group of friends wearing headscarves at Hagley Park.

 

Residents of Christchurch are still recovering from a devastating earthquake that hit in 2011, killing 185 and injuring thousands.

 

"Since the earthquakes, we’ve gone through a lot as a city and we’re a lot more caring and looking out for one another,” said James Sheehan, 62.

 

(Additional reporting by Charlotte Greenfield, Joseph Campbell; Writing by Praveen Menon; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Michael Perry)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-03-22

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Why do politicians utter this stuff? Last week she claimed "This is not who we are".  It may be "This is not who we want to be" or even "This is not how we want people to see us" but there are, in my experience, few defining characteristics of any given nation-state.  The only one that springs immediately to mind is American "exceptionalism" and that's merely a single characteristic. "Stiff upper lip" for the Brits? "Larrikin" for Australians?  Beyond that, human society is widely varied

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1 minute ago, sonos99 said:

Adern is white as well. Maybe it's because she's a women and they can't cope with that? 

Definitely. And one who has achieved more than they ever will. 

 

I should have been clearer. She’s paying respect to a people of a faith who they despise and seek to vilify at every turn, and the majority of who’s adherents aren’t the same colour as them. 

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4 minutes ago, BobBKK said:

I find her boring and unconvincing. Many Muslims see the headscarf as repressive. She banned auto rifles in 6 days (good job) now ask her WHY not ban them before 50 people get killed?

 

Stop dressing like a Muslim (you aren't one) if we are 'one' the vast majority of 'us' don't wear repressive headscarfs etc.

Cause law reform - including a royal commission recommendation - had been stymied three times in the past 20 years and their electoral system means that there is rarely ever a majority party who can push these things through. 

 

Funny too isn’t it. If it was a male politician no one would make any comment about their dress, but it is a woman then somehow what they wear is an issue of national concern. 

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2 minutes ago, BobBKK said:

You do understand that many Muslim women have gone to jail and worse for refusing to wear the headscarf?  you do understand it's a repressive tool of men?  do not, for ONE minute, think most Muslims think this is some form of 'respect'. This is turning into a circus.

Are you Muslim spokesperson then, telling us what ‘they’ all think? 

 

Funny we have a lot of those on TV. 

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8 minutes ago, BobBKK said:

You do understand that many Muslim women have gone to jail and worse for refusing to wear the headscarf?  you do understand it's a repressive tool of men?  do not, for ONE minute, think most Muslims think this is some form of 'respect'. This is turning into a circus.

In hardline Islamic countries, Yes, not all Muslim majority countries. 

 

I know a number of Thai Muslim women who only use a headscarf for religious celebrations, they view wearing the headscarf on such occasions as an expression of respect, not oppression. The PM of NZ is also expressing respect, unification, lessening tensions and so on. On the other hand we observe persons who want to keep on keeping on with generalised vilification which serves no constructive purpose whatsoever.

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Apparently Adern has been receiving death threats. 

 

So much hate in the world 

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She is saying Christian prayers for Muslims?

 

Dressing up as a what she thinks a typical Muslim woman wears?  This is not a fancy dress party.  Is she going to get some tattoos dress up in the native Maori traditional dress to pray for all the Maori people her ancestors butchered and destroyed their culture?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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17 minutes ago, jak2002003 said:

She is saying Christian prayers for Muslims?

 

Dressing up as a what she thinks a typical Muslim woman wears?  This is not a fancy dress party.  Is she going to get some tattoos dress up in the native Maori traditional dress to pray for all the Maori people her ancestors butchered and destroyed their culture?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why not offer Christian prayers for Muslims, Christians and Muslims worship the same god. 

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