Muslim community still loves New Zealand, says Imam of Christchurch mosque that was attacked

The imam of the New Zealand church which was attacked gave a harrowing account of the moment during Friday prayers when gunshots rang out in the mosque, replacing peaceful reflection with screaming, bloodshed and death.

Agence France-Presse March 16, 2019 11:29:12 IST
Muslim community still loves New Zealand, says Imam of Christchurch mosque that was attacked
  • Ibrahim Abdul Halim, imam of Linwood Mosque said that the Muslim community's love for New Zealand would not be shaken by the massacre

  • Halim gave a harrowing account of the moment during Friday prayers when gunshots rang out in the mosque, replacing peaceful reflection with screaming, bloodshed and death

  • But, he said, New Zealand Muslims still felt at home in the south Pacific nation

Christchurch: An imam who was leading prayers at a Christchurch mosque when a gunman brandishing semi-automatic weapons mowed down his congregation said on Saturday that the Muslim community's love for New Zealand would not be shaken by the massacre.

Muslim community still loves New Zealand says Imam of Christchurch mosque that was attacked

A man talks on his mobile phone across the road from a mosque in central Christchurch after shootings which killed 49 people. AP

"We still love this country," said Ibrahim Abdul Halim, imam of Linwood Mosque, vowing that extremists would "never ever touch our confidence".

Halim gave a harrowing account of the moment during Friday prayers when gunshots rang out in the mosque, replacing peaceful reflection with screaming, bloodshed and death. "Everyone laid down on the floor, and some women started crying, some people died immediately," he said.

But, he said, New Zealand Muslims still felt at home in the south Pacific nation. "My children live here" he said, adding, "we are happy".

He said the majority of New Zealanders "are very keen to support all of us, to give us full solidarity", describing how strangers exchanged hugs with him on Saturday. "They start to... give me big hug, and give me more solidarity. This is something very important."

The attacks on two mosques by a right-wing extremist left 49 people dead.

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