Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 June 2019

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed meets imams of attacked Christchurch mosques

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces welcomes New Zealand imams in the UAE capital

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, speaks to Imam Gamal Fouda of Al Noor mosque. Beside him is Imam Alabi Lateef Zirullah of Linwood mosque. Courtesy Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Twitter
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, speaks to Imam Gamal Fouda of Al Noor mosque. Beside him is Imam Alabi Lateef Zirullah of Linwood mosque. Courtesy Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Twitter

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed met the imams of the two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, where 50 people were killed in a terror attack last month.

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces received the imams of Al Noor and Linwood mosques at the Sea Palace in the UAE capital.

He greeted Imam Gamal Fouda of Al Noor mosque and Imam Alabi Lateef Zirullah of Linwood mosque, and praised the people of New Zealand for their support in the aftermath of the attack.

Sheikh Mohamed also applauded the way the crisis was handled by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who attended Friday prayers the following week to show her support and gave a speech about peace and unity.

Her response to the attack was so appreciated by the UAE that Burj Khalifa was lit up with her image as a tribute for her support to the Muslim community.

“New Zealand today fell silent in honour of the mosque attacks' martyrs. Thank you PM @jacindaardern and New Zealand for your sincere empathy and support that has won the respect of 1.5 billion Muslims after the terrorist attack that shook the Muslim community around the world,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, wrote on Twitter at the time.

Imam Gamal Fouda, of Al Noor mosque, and Imam Alabi Lateef Zirullah, of Linwood mosque, visit the martys' memorial at Wahat Al Karama. Courtesy: Wam
Imam Gamal Fouda, of Al Noor mosque, and Imam Alabi Lateef Zirullah, of Linwood mosque, visit the martys' memorial at Wahat Al Karama. Courtesy: Wam

On March 15, a gunman opened fire on worshippers during Friday prayers at the two mosques in Christchurch. At least 50 were killed and more than 40 were injured.

Among the injured was Adeeb Sami, 53, a UAE company executive who was shot twice while shielding his two sons from the gunman. Mr Sami was visiting New Zealand and attended Friday prayers at Al Noor Mosque when the attack happened.

A 28-year-old white supremacist – whose name Ms Ardern vowed never to speak – has been charged with 50 counts of murder. The man posted a 70-page diatribe online shortly before his attack. He also live-streamed the attack, which prompted a backlash against social media platforms that hosted the content.

Medical assessments on the suspect's mental health are due to be completed before his next court appearance on June 14.

Last week, New Zealand Parliament voted to change the country's gun laws in response to the attack.

Updated: April 16, 2019 10:05 AM

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