CHRISTCHURCH – Muslim scholars from around the world are flying to Christchurch to attend a funeral prayer for Muslim worshippers who were killed last Friday during the weekly Jum`ah prayer.
“I’m leaving for New Zealand to assist the aggrieved in #Christchurch with the leadership of Helping Hand and a few beloved Imams,” Dr. Omar Suleiman, Islamic speaker and fellow member of the ICNA General Assembly, wrote on Facebook.
“If anyone on the ground knows of any families we can visit or offer any support to over the next few days, please tweet at me and I’ll DM once I land. Requesting your prayers.”
Along with Imam Suleiman, a group of volunteers from Helping Hand for Refugees and Development flew to Christchurch to offer cond.olences.
“We are sending HHRD representatives from the USA to New Zealand to personally deliver condolences to the families of victims of this shooting on behalf of our donors and the Muslim community in the USA,” the charity said.
Other scholars who flew to New Zealand included Dr. Rateb Jneid, president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, Sheikh Riad Rifai, representative of Lebanese Darul Ifta in South Australia, and Hajj Ahmad Chandab representative of Al Hidaya Society in Melbourne.
A delegate from the International Union of Muslim Scholars arrived Thursday in Christchurch to participate in the funerals.
According to the IUMS Facebook page, the delegation will make several visits and events during its visit to Christchurch. It will also attend the vigil planned on Friday which will be attended by the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
On Thursday, the funerals ran one after another, as a river of mourners flooded through Christchurch’s Memorial Park for a second day.
Eight people are being buried today including 65 year old kiwi convert Linda Armstrong, who used her body to shield others at the Linwood Mosque.
Yesterday, six other victims from the mosque shootings were laid to rest in Christchurch, NZ Herald reported.
Father and son Khaled and Hamza Mustafa, who were killed together, were the first to be buried.
Junaid Ismail, 36, was also killed at Al Noor. His twin brother Zahid escaped.
A man whose name is suppressed was also laid to rest. He is the only person to date that the gunman has been charged with murdering.
Ashraf Ali, 58, was a businessman from Suva, and had arrived in the country only six days before the terror attack. He has also been buried.