Ardern leads two-minute silence for shooting victims

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New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern joined thousands in a two-minute vigil, a week after the attacks on two mosques in Christchurch.

She joined Muslims and non-Muslims in Hagley Park, opposite al Noor mosque, to observe the call to prayer followed by the silence.

At least 42 people were killed in al Noor mosque, and seven in nearby Linwood mosque, after a gunman opened fire at about 1.40pm on Friday 15 March.

Ardern leads two-minute silence for shooting victims
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The call to prayer in Hagley Park
Ardern leads two-minute silence for shooting victims
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New Zealand's prime minister bows her head as she listens to the speeches in the park

The call to prayer and subsequent silence was also broadcast on television and radio with thousands tuning in.

It comes the day after the government banned “military-style” semi-automatic firearms and high capacity magazines like the weapons used in the attacks.

Ardern leads two-minute silence for shooting victims
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Thousands have gathered for the vigil
Ardern leads two-minute silence for shooting victims
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Mourners gather and leave flowers as a nation remembers the victims

The country does not have a constitutional right to bear arms.

Ms Ardern said: “The Prophet Mohammed, sallallahu alaihi wasallam (Peace be upon Him) said: ‘The believers in mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When any part of the body suffers, the whole body feels pain.’

More from New Zealand Mosque Attacks

“New Zealand mourns with you. We are one.”

Ardern leads two-minute silence for shooting victims
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Ms Ardern in the crowds at the vigil

After the call to prayer, Imam Gamal Fouda, from al Noor mosque said: “Last week I stood in this mosque and saw hatred in the eyes of the terrorist.

“Today, from the same place I look out and see the love and compassion in the eyes of thousands of fellow New Zealanders and human beings, that fill the hearts of millions more, who are not with us physically but in spirit.”

He added: “We are broken-hearted, but we are not broken. We are alive, we are together, we are determined to not let anyone divide us.”

He said the terrorist sought to tear them apart, but that they had shown New Zealand was “unbreakable”.

Ardern leads two-minute silence for shooting victims
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Thousands attend the Hagley Park prayers
Ardern leads two-minute silence for shooting victims
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People perform Friday prayers a week after the shooting

He thanked supporters for their love, the flowers, the Haka. He thanked Ms Ardern for her leadership, saying it was an example for world leaders.

He said: “Thank you for holding our families close and honouring us with a simple scarf. Thank you for being one with us. Thank you to the New Zealand government and all the wonderful people who have shown us that we matter and are not forgotten.”

Ardern leads two-minute silence for shooting victims
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Ms Ardern pays her respect outside al Noor mosque in Christchurch
Ardern leads two-minute silence for shooting victims
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Zaid Mustafa (C, in wheelchair), who was wounded in the attacks arrives for prayers

A second imam told the crowds “Islamophobia kills”.

He says the attacks proved that terrorism has “no colour, race or religion”.

Ashir Rizvi, 29, who survived the shooting, said: “It’s just heartbreaking. The first thing when we went there, I looked at Faisal – my friend, he’s my housemate as well – the first thing I told him; ‘mate, this could have been us’, and I just started crying.

“I’m absolutely, absolutely still very grateful to be in this country. When you see our leader, Jacinda, you feel you are still in safe hands. Terrorist attacks, hatred is everywhere, all over the world. So saying that ‘oh Christchurch is not, or New Zealand is not, a safe place anymore’, I think that that doesn’t really make any sense to me.”

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Ardern leads two-minute silence for shooting victims



‘I will never speak gunman’s name’ – Ardern

Ardern leads two-minute silence for shooting victims
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A police officer stands guard to provide reassurance near al Noor mosque

Burial of the victims began on Wednesday, with a final mass burial planned for later today.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, has been charged with murder following the attacks and was remanded without plea. He will reappear in court on 5 April when police say he will likely face more charges.