Published On: Sat, Apr 13th, 2019

Thousands of Pakistanis form Christchurch mosque

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‘We worked really hard to make this model. It was so pleasant that we were ready to stand like this for the whole day,’ says one participant

Published 4:01 PM, April 13, 2019

Updated 4:01 PM, April 13, 2019

HUMAN CHAIN. This aerial handout photograph released by Muslim Institute, a non-government organisation on April 12, 2019, shows Pakistani people gathering to form a human image the Christchurch Al Noor mosque in solidarity with the mosque attack victims, in Jhang, in Pakistan's Punjab province. HANDOUT/Muslim Institute/AFP

HUMAN CHAIN. This aerial handout photograph released by Muslim Institute, a non-government organisation on April 12, 2019, shows Pakistani people gathering to form a human image the Christchurch Al Noor mosque in solidarity with the mosque attack victims, in Jhang, in Pakistan’s Punjab province. HANDOUT/Muslim Institute/AFP

JHANG, Pakistan – Thousands of Pakistanis clad in white gathered in the central city of Jhang Friday, April 12, to make a human image of Christchurch’s Al Noor mosque, where 50 people were killed by a white supremacist four weeks ago.

Drone images showed worshippers standing in formation, their snow-white traditional shalwar kameez and prayer caps in stark contrast to the emerald green of a public field, as a second group formed the words “Islam is peace” nearby.

Huge New Zealand and Pakistani flags were also displayed along with a giant banner which read: “Solidarity with the martyrs of Christchurch from Pakistan”.

The tribute was organized by the Muslim Institute, a non-government organization aimed at promoting peace and stability in the Muslim world, which also released the drone footage.

Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian and self-avowed white supremacist, has been charged with 50 counts of murder and 39 of attempted murder after opening fire at the Linwood and Al Noor mosques on March 15.

Nine of the victims were of Pakistani origin. One, Naeem Rashid, was posthumously given an award for bravery by Pakistan after he apparently tried to tackle the gunman before being shot. (READ: Emotional Muslims return to Christchurch mosque as New Zealand works to move on)

Tribute organizers praised the New Zealand government after what had been a “very tough time” for Muslims in the country – especially Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Her response “not only soothed the wounds of Muslims but also assured them that Muslims in their country are safe,” Sahibzada Sultan Ahmad Ali, a religious scholar and one of the organizers, told Agence France-Presse.

“We worked really hard to make this model,” one participant, Noor Hassan, told AFP of the tribute.

“It was so pleasant that we were ready to stand like this for the whole day,” he added. – Rappler.com

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