Redditch mosque holds community gathering to remember Christchurch victims

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Members of faith and non-faith groups gathered outside Redditch Central Mosque today to remember the victims of the Christchurch terror attack which took place a week ago.

Worshipers and members of the public, which included the ex-Mayor of Redditch, Joe Baker, stood shoulder to shoulder outside the Redditch Central Masjid-E Noor to listen to speakers share messages of love and hope.

Saheed Khan, a Warrant Officer in the British Army, labelled the events which took place during Friday prayers ‘barbaric’ and ‘cowardly’.

He said: “These acts will not divide us, regardless of whether they are in an Army Public School in Pakistan, a concert arena in Manchester or indeed in a New Zealand Masjid.

“These acts serve to make us stronger and stand together in the face of diversity, we will remember them.”

Hindu community leader Nitim Sodha expressed his condolences to the families of those who died and vowed to take action to further unite multi-faith groups.

He said: “I remember when I was quite concerned with this mosque because of the graffiti there was on the side of the building.

“We decided to start a multi-faith forum and started sending it to everybody, even schools, so that people learn about accountability.

“Now, after this, I have sent this document to the mayors of Christchurch, Birmingham, Manchester and so on, to say look; this is what we have done, you might want to consider doing the same.”

Jilly Cooper, a member of the Jewish community, echoed a similar message while briefly addressing the crowd, she said although she is secular, the Jewish community strongly stands in solidarity.

Last week’s attacks at two mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, was the worst in the country’s history and resulted in the death of 50 people and left dozens more injured.

The youngest victim of the attack was three-year-old Mucaad Ibrahim, and the oldest was 71-year-old Haji Daoud Nabi.

Following on from the attack, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced all military-style semi-automatic weapons, assault rifles and high-capacity magazines will be banned in the country.