New Zealand Broadcasts Islamic Call to Prayer Nationwide, PM Dons Hijab

Christchurch
Carl Court/Getty Images
JACK MONTGOMERY

New Zealand has commemorated the victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings by broadcasting the Islamic call to prayer nationwide during a two-minutes’ silence, with the Prime Minister and many other non-Muslims donning veils for the occasion.

The act of remembrance was organised to mark one week since a suspected far-right terrorist killed 50 people in shootings at two mosques, streamed live on Facebook.

New Zealanders across the Pacific country stood in silence for the Islamic call to prayer, or adhan, which the BBC translates from Arabic as “God is great, there is no God but Allah. Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. Come to prayer” — although many argue that “Allahu akbar” is more accurately translated as “[our] God is greater” rather than “God is great”.

Prime Minister Jacina Ardern wore an Islamic headscarf, or hijab, for open-air prayers which she attended in Christchurch’s Hagley Park, near the Al Noor mosque, and was joined by a number of other non-Muslim New Zealand women who organised online under the hashtags #HeadscarfForHarmony and #ScarvesInSolidarity.

“According the prophet Mohammed… The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body,” the Prime Minister told the assembled mourners.

“When any part of the body suffers, the whole body feels pain. New Zealand mourns with you, we are one”

Al Noor mosque imam Gamal Fouda thanked Ms Ardern for “honouring us with a simple scarf”, and told the families of the Christchurch victims that “Their blood will water the seeds of hope and people will see the beauty of Islam.”

“The martyrdom of 50 people and the injury of 42 did not come overnight, it was the result of the anti-Muslim rhetoric of some political leaders, media agencies and others,” he added, telling the crowd that “Islamaphobia kills” and urging “governments around the world, including New Zealand and neighbouring countries, to bring an end to hate speech and the politics of fear.”

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