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After shooting, some Muslims in NZ ‘hiding’ mosque signs, others rally against violence

Malay Mail logo Malay Mail 3 days ago Azril Annuar
a group of people standing around a fire hydrant: People coming to show support and solidarity to Muslim community in Hamilton. — Picture by Shazly Khan © Provided by Malay Mail Sdn Bhd People coming to show support and solidarity to Muslim community in Hamilton. — Picture by Shazly Khan

KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 — With 40 Muslims confirmed dead and the number of injured at 20 and rising following shootings at mosques in Christchurch, some Muslims in New Zealand have resorted to taking down or covering up the signs to their place of worship.

A Malaysian Muslim professional based in Nelson, a coastal city on the southern island of New Zealand north of Christchurch, also told Malay Mail that some among the minority community, including his wife, feel a need to show solidarity against the violence.

“The police have advised us not to attend the mosques, nationwide. We have covered or taken down signs for mosques here.

“Women usually have halaqa sessions every Friday at 6.30pm and now that has been cancelled,” the man who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal due to the small number of Malaysians there.

He said reaction to the outbreak of violence within the local Muslim population have been mixed, with those from South-east Asia and South Asia more “relaxed” while those from the Middle East appear more agitated.

“Those of us from Southeast or South Asia especially are relaxed.

“But New Zealand also have Middle Eastern Muslims and refugees. These people have seen war. They may not be so restrained but I cannot comment on them as I don’t really know what their true feelings are.”

He added that most of the Middle Eastern Muslims in Nelson are from Iraq, while some are refugees from strife-riddled Afghanistan and Palestine.

“I don’t know how long they want us to stay away from the mosques. I’ve heard here that four people have been arrested. Technically this makes it a terror attack and cell. The police advised that until they know more, close the mosques,” the man said.

He said local police have not been specific when asked if Muslims there have been advised to hide their religious identity, such as refrain from wearing the hijab or robes,

Despite the violence, the man said he and his wife are still planning to attend a “Race Unity Day” gathering scheduled for this Sunday.

The unity day was organised prior to the shooting will go on, the man said, despite the risk of terror attacks.

The Malaysian expatriate said the race organisers decided to continue with the event, but have requested police protection.

Another Malaysian based in Christchurch who is back here for a visit expressed anxiety for his family who remained in the southern New Zealand city that is now under a lockdown.

“The mosque is near my home, about 1km away and that is the place that I perform my Friday prayers, my tarawikh and the daily prayers. It is a big mosque in Christchurch but most of the congregation there are Middle Eastern and Somalians.

“Malaysian students generally pray at Canterbury University, otherwise more Malaysians would have gotten hurt. Who would expect terrorism to happen in New Zealand,” said the financier who also asked not to be named.

The father of two said his son has contacted him over WhatsApp and said the family in Christchurch is safe. The financier added that his daughter and her children were stranded at a daycare for a while due to the lockdown earlier, but expressed relief that they finally managed to get home and to safety.

“I wish I can ask them to leave and head to Malaysia for a while. I’m very worried for their safety,” he said.

a group of people posing for the camera: Khadija mosque imam Shazly Khan (left) and Hamilton Mayor Andrew King posing in solidarity after the Christchurch terror attack at the Khadija mosque in Hamilton, New Zealand. — Picture by Shazly Khan © Provided by Malay Mail Sdn Bhd Khadija mosque imam Shazly Khan (left) and Hamilton Mayor Andrew King posing in solidarity after the Christchurch terror attack at the Khadija mosque in Hamilton, New Zealand. — Picture by Shazly Khan

Malaysian Muslim motivational speaker Shazly Khan, who is based in Hamilton on the northern New Zealand island, has condemned the attack against his fellow Muslims in Christchurch.

In a Facebook post, Shazly who is also an imam at the Khadija Mosque, Rototuna Islamic Centre in Hamilton said that the tragic shooting has nothing to do with religion but purely with hatred, bigotry and ignorance.

“We as Muslims are against violence of any kind, whether it is done by Muslims or by anybody else.

“As Muslims, we will continue to do good, to spread the love and will NEVER reciprocate in violence and instead will do more to benefit others and those around us.

“Life has a beginning and an ending, to those whom we lost in the mosque, inshaAllah died as a Martyr and we ask Allah SWT to forgive them. Our hearts and prayers are with their families and we ask Allah to grant them patience,” he wrote.

He said that he places his trust in the police and the New Zealand government to bring the criminals to justice.

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