The move was reminiscent of when Muslims performed the same act of solidarity for Christians in Pakistan several years ago:
Hundreds of people gathered outside a mosque in Wellington, New Zealand, and locked arms to form a human chain, in a symbolic act of protection of the Muslim community during Friday prayer.
The move came as New Zealanders mourn the 50 victims of mass shootings at two Christchurch mosques on March 15, in a national day of reflection to mark a week since the terror attack.
Christchurch newspaper The Press had the word ‘salam’ (peace) in Arabic script in its front page, along with the names of the victims of the attack.
Witnesses said people of all races, ages and social classes linked arms during the call to prayer at the Wellington Islamic Community — known locally as the Kilbirnie Mosque — witnesses said.
“The atmosphere was sad, quiet, but determined. Many women wore headscarves,” Sue Teodoro, who was at the vigil, told CNN. “Many people cried openly. It was incredibly moving. People were determined that the community should pray without fear today.”
Hand in hand as many as 200-300 people formed a human chain outside the St Anthony’s Church adjacent to the District Police Lines at the Empress Road, in a show of solidarity with the victims of the Peshawar church attack two weeks back, which resulted in over a 100 deaths. The twin suicide attack on All Saints church occurred after Sunday mass ended and is believed to be the country’s deadliest attack on Christians.
Standing in the small courtyard of St Anthony’s Church, as Mufti Mohammad Farooq delivered a sermon quoting a few verses of the Holy Quran that preached tolerance and respect for other beliefs, Father Nasir Gulfam stepped right next to him after having conducted a two hour long Sunday service inside the church. The two men stood should to shoulder, hand in hand as part of the human chain that was formed outside the church not just as a show of solidarity but also to send out a message, ‘One Nation, One Blood’.