For Dr. Saqib Choudhary, the sight of a hijabi, non-Muslim woman with a sign reading “I am your friend” summed up the very special, peaceful and supporting community in Reading, Berkshire, Getreading reported.
“This is a diverse community and a peaceful society,” Dr. Choudhary, 41, who lives in Wokingham, said.
“Humanity surpasses everything else, and the lady was portraying that message.
“This is a singular society and we are all one, motivated on the same level. We all stand united in this day and age, in this time of unrest.”
The image captured on Friday, March 22 showed a kind woman handling a sign saying “I am your friend, I will watch while you pray.”
Dr. Choudhary said he took the photo outside the Aisha Masjid and Islamic Centre in Earley.
“She said she wanted to stand there with her sign to show solidarity after Christchurch,” Choudhary, a team leader for premises at the center, said.
“We had a long discussion, with her saying that she wants to stand there and encourage people.”
— Dr. Saqib A Choudhary (@SaqibAltafCh) March 22, 2019
The photo came out one week after a terrorist killed 50 Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Following the attacks, scenes of solidarity with Muslims spread across New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the UK.
The photo garnered a huge response on Twitter and social media.
“The whole reason for the tweet was to just show solidarity and unity,” Dr. Choudary said.
“It was quite well received. People have been coming quite a bit, people who don’t know each other have come to show their support.
“We had a meeting with police commander Stan Gilmore, who has shown his support and asked us if there’s anything police can do support us.
“He said that they’re committed to protecting religious places and making sure that they are safe.”
Solidarity events have been taking place across the world over the past two weeks to express sympathy with the New Zealander Muslims.
This Friday, March 29, around 25,000 gathered at North Hagley Park, a few meters away from Al Noor Mosque where a terrorist killed 50 Muslim worshippers two weeks ago.
A week earlier, New Zealand came together on March 22 to support the Muslim community as national TV aired adhan and Jum`ah prayer for the first time.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern joined thousands of mourners near the Al-Noor mosque, one of two places of worship targeted in last Friday’s terrorist attacks.