Hundreds of people from the Christchurch suburb of Hillmorton packed into the local high school hall last night for a memorial service for four of those killed in March-15 terrorist attacks.
This came amid calls of designating the day as a national day of reflection, Scoop reported Monday.
“I believe that it happened as a test for us, as a test for Muslims, as a test for the New Zealand government, as a test for New Zealanders,” Farid Ahmed, who lost his wife, Husna Ahmed at the Al Noor mosque shootings, said.
Farid also spoke at the National Memorial Service of forgiving the shooter,
It has been three months since a terrorist attacked two mosques in Christchurch, killing 51, injuring 49, and leaving thousands in trauma.
Speaking at the memorial service, New Zealand Federation of Islamic Associations head Mustafa Farouk told the audience he would be pushing for 15 March to become a national day of prayer and reflection.
He also asked for two memorials to be built; one for the victims and another to commemorate the public response to the tragedy and the way it had brought New Zealanders together.
Meanwhile, families of those who lost their lives reflected on their tragedy three months on.
Rashid Omar who lost his son, Tariq Rashid Omar, said his family missed him terribly.
His loss was felt deeply, including by the many young footballers he used to coach.
“He was very caring, very gentle, very firm when he was doing his coaching to young children. It’s still very tough. It’s only that we are trying to, as a family to live without him physically and without him around us. This is a very difficult learning curve for us.”
Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand and the seat of the Canterbury Region.
It is home to 404,500 residents, making it New Zealand’s 3rd most populous city behind Auckland and Wellington.
There are about 50,000 Muslims in New Zealand and about 60 mosques and Islamic centers.