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One week after a terrorist opened fire on Muslim worshippers in the twin-mosque terror attack in Christchurch, killing 50 innocent civilians, New Zealanders gathered to mourn.
Among the crowds, who congregated in Hagley Park opposite the Al Noor mosque to observe the call to prayer, members of the notorious Mongrel Mob gang performed a poignant Haka.
Thousands more listened and watched as the event was broadcast live, with the prayer followed by two minutes of silence in what has been called a ‘nationwide reflection’.
Their performance was met with a round of applause and cheering from members of the Muslim community who watched before heading inside to pray.
Earlier this week, Sonny Fatu, the local Mongrel Mob president vowed to help make Muslims feel safe while they prayed, he told Stuff.
Members of a number of gangs – including the Mongrel Mob’s rivals, the Black Power gang, have been invited to stand sentry outside places of worship to help the Muslim community recover.
We will support and assist our Muslim brothers and sisters for however long they need us.
We were contacted by a representative who said some of our Muslim brothers and sisters have fears for Friday during their prayer, and the question was posed whether we could be apart of the safety net for them to allow them to pray in peace without fear.
The local Muslim Association president Dr Asad Mohsi touched noses with gang members in a traditional Maori greeting called the Hongi after he welcomed their support.
Just a day after she outlawed ‘military-style’ semi-automatic firearms and high-capacity magazines, the likes of which were used in the terror attack, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern joined civilians to show solidarity with those in mourning.
The Prime Minister has become a bastion of love and unity in her leadership in the week since the attack, and praised for her quick action to prevent an atrocity like this from happening again.
The gun legislation is supported by Ardern’s liberal Labour Party and the conservative opposition National Party, so it is expected to pass into law.
An immediate sales ban on military style weapons went into effect on Thursday. New Zealand does not have a constitutional right to bear arms.
With decisive action against white supremacist terror, New Zealanders have gathered to heal. Also in attendance was the Al Noor mosque imam, Gamal Fouda, who thanked New Zealanders for their support.
This terrorist sought to tear our nation apart with an evil ideology… But, instead, we have shown that New Zealand is unbreakable.
We are broken-hearted but we are not broken. We are alive. We are together. We are determined to not let anyone divide us.
Among the crowds, non-Muslim women wore headscarves in solidarity with their countrymen and women of the Muslim faith.
Later in the day, a mass funeral was held to bury 26 of the victims at a cemetery where more than a dozen already have been laid to rest.
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