Call to prayer to mark three years since the Christchurch terror attack
People have come out in their thousands to stand and pray in solidarity with the Muslim community in Christchurch a week after the terrorist attack on March 15, 2019.
Three years later, the nation is invited to listen to the call to prayer at 1:39 p.m. to remember the 51 shuhada – the martyrs who killed during the atrocities – and to reflect on the events of that day.
A video broadcasting the adhan (call to prayer) of Gamal Fouda, the imam of the Al Noor mosque, is available on this page. The nation was invited to join in the prayer at 1:39 p.m. Following the call to prayer, MPs delivered memorial speeches in parliament, which can be watched live in the video above from 2 p.m.
Fouda said the adhan was a good reminder to Kiwis of what happened and the message of unity from the call to prayer at Hagley Park three years ago.
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“It will resonate with the victims and create the atmosphere of when we stood together in Hagley [Park].”
Families and survivors have called for no big events to take place this year, but instead held events with positive messages for the future, with Islamic Awareness Week and Unity Week.
The pre-recorded prayer was organized by the Department of Culture and Heritage as “a fitting act of commemoration and a symbol of solidarity with New Zealand’s Muslim communities”.
Terrorist attack survivor Temel Atacocugu will also complete his grueling peace march on Tuesday, arriving at Al-Noor Mosque to coincide with the call to prayer.
Atacocugu, of Turkish descent, was shot nine times in the Christchurch mosque attacks in 2019 and still carries shrapnel in his body from that terrifying day.
He began his journey from Dunedin to Christchurch – retracing the shooter’s route – on March 1 and aims to arrive at the mosque at 1.40pm when the terrorist began his fatal shooting. He will then drive to the Linwood Islamic Center.
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel opened Tuesday’s city council meeting with a speech marking the third anniversary of the shootings at An-Nur Masjid (Al Noor Mosque) and the Linwood Islamic Centre.
“It’s a day we will never forget,” she said.
The families “want us, as a city and as a nation, to always remember the 51 shuhada, to never forget who they are and what they mean to those who loved them.”
“They also want us to come together in peace, love and unity, a reflection of how we came together as a city and a nation at this time.”
It “helps us all remember what’s important in life, even when we’re faced with the worst of man’s inhumanity to man,” Dalziel said.
She also challenged people to ask if enough had been done to build a more inclusive society since the attack, and thanked the groups formed within the surviving Muslim community for their commitment to building unity.
She remembers that the Cantabrians “came by the thousands” uninvited, to attend the call to prayer a week after the attack.
“It was the most powerful expression of solidarity I have ever seen. Let’s all say, “I am here and I am by your side today and every day”.
The meeting ended with a minute of silence.
It comes as Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon has warned that hate is still allowed to “fester and grow” in New Zealand, while a new Australian study has found an 18-fold increase in Islamophobic abuse online immediately following the 2019 attack on two Christchurch mosques.