Christchurch sees outpouring of inter-faith solidarity after mosque attack

New Zealanders are rallying behind the country’s Muslim community in the wake of the terrorist attack that killed 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday. Crowdfunding initiatives and other gestures of support abound.

“The terrorist’s intention was to create a bigger divide between Muslims and non-Muslims, but in fact he has failed at that and he has brought every aspect of the society in New Zealand together,” Umar, a volunteer at a crisis support centre created for survivors of the attack and the families of the victims, told France 24 in Christchurch. “I’ll keep going to my mosque and I’ll pray because if we stop going to our mosques, he’s won,” Umar added, choking back tears.

The powerful image of a Maori woman embracing a Muslim woman is seen again and again at memorials piled high with flowers. Christchurch is no stranger to tragedy after the devastating 2011 earthquake. But that disaster, say locals, fostered an unbreakable community spirit on full display after Friday’s shooting.

FRANCE 24 correspondents Richelle Harrison Plesse and Gregory Plesse report from Christchurch.