Crowd listens to mosque victims' names at New Zealand memorial

Orient Net 2019-03-29 09:04:00

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Thousands stood in silence in a Christchurch park on Friday (March 29) as the names of 50 people shot dead in two mosques were read out at a national memorial service, with speakers calling for the legacy of the tragedy to be a kinder, more tolerant New Zealand, Reuters reported.

Dozens of representatives of governments from around the world joined New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the remembrance service in Hagley Park, near the Al Noor mosque where more than 40 of the victims were killed by a suspected white supremacist during Friday prayers on March 15.

“Our challenge now is to make the very best of us a daily reality. Because we are not immune to the viruses of hate, of

fear, of other. We never have been,” said Ardern, whose handling of the tragedy has won global praise.

“But we can be the nation that discovers the cure. And so to each of us as we go from here, we have work to do,” she said.

Ardern, who wore a Maori cloak known as a kakahu during the service, said the world had to end the vicious cycle of extremism and that it needed a global effort.

“The answer to them lies in a simple concept that is not bound by domestic borders, that isn’t based on ethnicity, power-base or even forms of governance. The answer lies in our humanity,” she said.

Security was tight around the service and New Zealand remains on high security alert. Police Commissioner Mike Bush said it was one of the largest security events ever conducted by police in New Zealand.

The massacre in Christchurch was carried out by a lone gunman who live streamed the attack on Facebook. Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, has been charged with one count of murder and is likely to face more charges when he reappears in court next Friday.

The service was broadcast around the country. Muslim volunteers, some of whom had traveled from Australia and Asia, handed out pamphlets with information about Islam as crowds left the park after the service.