Roughly 20,000 people gathered in Christchurch on Friday to observe the Muslim call to prayer in memory of the 50 people who died when a gunman stormed two mosques one week ago.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, along with representatives from the Maori community, attended the somber gathering in Hagley Park, opposite the Al Noor Mosque where 42 people were killed.
At 1:30 p.m., the call to prayer was broadcast nationally across state-run television and radio channels, followed by two minutes’ silence, which Ardern encouraged all New Zealanders to observe.
“According to the Muslim faith, the Prophet Muhammad…said the believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When any part of the body suffers, the whole body feels pain. New Zealand mourns with you, we are one,” Ardern said in her brief remarks.
Still unable to re-enter their mosque, members of the Christchurch Muslim community held midday prayers in the park while non-Muslim locals looked on silently.
Christchurch City Council estimates 5,000 Muslims were in attendance, as well as 15,000 non-Muslims.