‘No God But Allah’ Echoes Across New Zealand a Week After Mosque Shooting By Patrick Goodenough for CNS News
As New Zealanders marked the one-week anniversary of the worst mass shooting in the country’s history, the state-owned radio and television network broadcast live the Islamic call to prayer, and people were encouraged to wear a headscarf as a “show of solidarity” with the Muslim community.
Both elements of the day’s commemorations stoked controversy.
With the country remembering the 50 Muslims shot dead and dozens hurt in the attack on two Christchurch mosques during Friday prayers, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Thursday that commemoration would include a live broadcast of the call to prayer.
“I know from many there is a desire to show support to the Muslim community as they return to mosques, particularly on Friday,” she told reporters.
“There is also a desire amongst New Zealanders to mark the week that has passed since the terrorist attack. To acknowledge this, there will be a two-minute silence on Friday. We will also broadcast nationally, via TVNZ and Radio New Zealand, the call to prayer.”
Ardern – whose government this week pushed through a ban on “military-style semi-automatics” and assault rifles in response to the shooting – also said in a statement, “How we choose to reflect during the silence will be different for each of us. Everyone should do what feels right for them, wherever they are – at home, at work, at school.”
Early on Friday afternoon, Ardern joined hundreds in a Christchurch park across the road from the mosque where most victims died, for the call to prayer, followed by a reflective silence. The imam of the mosque, Gamal Fouda, thanked the prime minister, first responders, neighbors and ordinary New Zealanders for their support.
“Thank you for your leadership. It has been a lesson for the world’s leaders,” he told Ardern. “Thank you holding our families close, and for honoring us with a simple scarf. Thank you for your words and tears of compassion.”