Published: Sun, March 24, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

New Zealand Broadcasts Islamic Call to Prayer Nationwide, PM Dons Hijab

New Zealand Broadcasts Islamic Call to Prayer Nationwide, PM Dons Hijab

The names of each of the 50 people killed were read out.

Muslims returned to Christchurch's main mosque on Saturday for the first time since a white supremacist massacred worshippers there, as New Zealand sought to return to normality after the tragedy. "Come to prayer" - although many argue that "Allahu akbar" is more accurately translated as "[our] God is greater" rather than "God is great".

Prime Minister Jacina Ardern wore an Islamic headscarf, or hijab, for open-air prayers which she attended in Christchurch's Hagley Park, near the Al Noor mosque, and was joined by a number of other non-Muslim New Zealand women who organised online under the hashtags #HeadscarfForHarmony and #ScarvesInSolidarity.

The prime minister has been praised for her leadership following the attack.

"When any part of the body suffers, the whole body feels pain".

Officials estimate up to 40,000 people attended the event on a sunny evening at Hagley Park.

Mr Mahmoud was invited to New Zealand to take part in the response to the attack at two mosques, which killed 50 people and left dozens more wounded.

Only three businesses in the small shopping centre by the Linwood mosque were open yesterday and customers have been slow to return to some.

A young boy holds a placard as he takes part in a vigil to remember the victims of the Christchurch mosque attacks

A student from one of the nearby schools, Okirano Tilaia, reportedly told the assembled crowd: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can".

Farid Ahmed, who was at the Al Noor mosque when the shooting took place, escaped but his wife, Husna, was killed.

"Thank you @jacindaardern and New Zealand for your honest empathy and support that has won the respect of 1.5 billion Muslims after the terrorist attack that shook the Muslim community around the world", he said on Twitter.

Muslims account for just over 1% of New Zealand's 4.8-million population, a 2013 census showed, most of whom were born overseas.

On Friday, the Muslim call to prayer was broadcast nationwide on television and radio and about 20,000 people attended a prayer service in the park opposite Al Noor mosque in a show of solidarity.

In Makkah, a special prayer was held after the Friday sermon for the victims of the attack, according to the Saudi news website Sabq.

Shahadat Hossain, whose brother Mojammel Haque was killed in the attack, arrived in New Zealand on Saturday to bring his brother's body back to Bangladesh.

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