Three weeks after a terrorist shooting resulted in the death of 50 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch, flowers are still being laid in memory of the victims, reflecting extraordinary pour of love, Stuff reported Sunday, April 7.
“When I see them now I just see people together and still coming together and showing love,” Jessie Collings, 28, said as she laid a single flower along the wall at the Botanic Gardens.
“Even though they are looking tired and it’s been a few weeks we are still going at it. There are still fresh flowers among the mix – it’s nice to see and I don’t mind them.”
Terrorist Brenton Harrison Tarrant killed 50 Muslim worshippers in March 15 attacks as he targeted Al Noor and Linwood mosques.
Since the attack, thousands of bouquet were laid at the pavement outside the Masjid Al Noor, adorning fences near the Linwood mosque and forming a carpet of sorrow next to the Botanic Gardens.
The flowers, teddy bears, and messages of support were seen as symbol of the city’s grief and unity.
Volunteers began removing tributes from around Linwood mosque on Sunday, gently unfastening bouquets and gifts from nearby fences and taking them away.
Archives New Zealand is creating a permanent digital record of the flowers and messages of support, and Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has said the flowers will be used as mulch for community gardens or returned to the mosques.
For Ros Brenssell, visiting the tributes for the first time on Sunday, it is too soon to take the flowers away.
“It’s my first time down here because initially it was too soon and I didn’t want to be in amongst everybody else’s mourning and sadness,” she said.
“I am amazed at the overwhelming support and I’m so pleased this is still here.
“I totally understand it’s too soon for them now. It feels too soon for me, so it’s much more of a difficult decision for them to make.”
New Zealand came together in the past weeks to support Muslims.
On Friday, March 29, around 25,000 gathered at North Hagley Park, a few meters away from Al Noor Mosque, a scene of the terrorist attacks.
A week earlier, the whole nation supported the Muslim community by airing on national TV adhan and Jum`ah prayer for the first time.
Nationwide ceremonies moreover saw poignant scenes of Kiwis embracing Muslims, and of non-Muslim New Zealand women donning makeshift Islamic headscarves in solidarity.
Many groups also called on women to don the hijab for one day to show solidarity with the Muslim community, especially women.
In the rugby world, many teams and players also expressed solidarity and support.
On March 28, four Manly Sea Eagles players paid an emotional visit to one of the mosques which were the scene of a terrorist shooting in Christchurch.
Earlier, the All Blacks rugby player Ofa Tu’ungafasi accepted Islam following a visit with his Muslim teammate Sonny Bill Williams over the weekend to the survivors of Christchurch mosque terrorist attack.