A week after 50 people were killed in attacks on two mosques in New Zealand’s Christchurch, top newspapers in the country came out with powerful front pages in tribute to the victims. Dailies like The Press, The New Zealand Herald, The Dominion Post and Otago Daily Times expressed solidarity with the victims, and the Muslim community, in its time of grief.
The front pages of The Press and The Dominion Post carried the names of those killed in the attacks by a lone gunman, while The New Zealand Herald put hearts inside a mosque icon with a caption that said ‘A Call To Prayer’.
Otago Daily Times published a picture of people paying tribute to those gunned down by a 28-year-old Australian national with the headline ‘A City United’.
A muezzin in white skullcap had issued the call to regular Friday prayers at 1.30 pm with chants of “Allahu Akhbar” (God is greatest), which rang out across New Zealand. The country also observed silence for two minutes, with public gatherings in Auckland, Wellington and other cities.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern joined about 20,000 people at Hagley Park, in front of the Al Noor mosque where most of the victims were killed last week.”New Zealand mourns with you. We are one,” she said in a short speech.
A number of women across the country also stepped out wearing makeshift hijabs as a statement of peace and solidarity on Friday. Many of these women were wearing the headscarf for the first time in their lives.
In neighbouring Australia as well people stopped in the streets and in shops to observe a moment of silence in solidarity with the victims.