Thousands of Pakistanis clad in white gathered in Jhang on Friday to make a human image of Christchurch’s Al Noor mosque, where 50 people were killed by a white supremacist four weeks ago.
Drone images showed worshippers standing in formation, their snow-white shalwar kameez and prayer caps in stark contrast to the emerald green of a public field, as a second group formed the words “Islam is peace” nearby.
Huge New Zealand and Pakistani flags were also displayed along with a giant banner which read: “Solidarity with the martyrs of Christchurch from Pakistan.”
The tribute was organized by the Muslim Institute, a non-government organization aimed at promoting peace and stability in the Muslim world, which also released the drone footage.
Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian and self-avowed white supremacist, has been charged with 50 counts of murder and 39 of attempted murder after opening fire at the Linwood and Al Noor mosques on March 15. Nine of the victims were of Pakistani origin. One, Naeem Rashid, was posthumously given an award for bravery by Pakistan after he apparently tried to tackle the gunman before being shot.
Tribute organizers praised the New Zealand government after what had been a “very tough time” for Muslims in the country—especially Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Her response “not only soothed the wounds of Muslims but also assured them that Muslims in their country are safe,” Sahibzada Sultan Ahmad Ali, a religious scholar and one of the organizers, told AFP.
“We worked really hard to make this model,” said one participant, Noor Hassan, of the tribute. “It was so pleasant that we were ready to stand like this for the whole day,” he added.