Source: Al Jazeerah
Outpouring of solidarity includes crowdfunding millions of dollars, donating halal food and help in digging of graves.
New Zealanders have responded to the Christchurch mosque massacres with an outpouring of interfaith solidarity – crowdfunding millions of dollars, donating halal food and even offering to accompany local Muslims now scared to walk the streets.
The killing of 49 people at two mosques in this usually placid city on Friday has sent shockwaves rippling across the Pacific Island country that on average sees no more than 50 murders a year.
But revulsion at the bloodshed and the self-declared perpetrator’s racist motives has been matched by displays of support and warmth towards the country’s devastated Muslim communities.
In a suburb of Christchurch close to where the attacks took place, Yoti Ioannou and his wife put out a Facebook post calling for locals to donate halal food.
Their idea was to provide meals for the dozens of desperate relatives waiting at the city’s hospitals for news of their loved ones as surgeons battled to save lives.
The halal food drive was inundated, they said, with people lining up to give meals throughout Saturday.
“We’re just really humbled and happy to help,” Ioannou told AFP news agency. “We’ll be working on a way to keep things consistent with support for the families.”
|Flowers and signs at a memorial as tributes to victims of the mosque attacks near Linwood mosque in Christchurch [Edgar Su/Reuters]|
He said so much food was donated that they eventually had to put a fresh call out saying no more was needed.
“The people of Christchurch, we’re used to rallying,” Iannou said, referencing the 2011 earthquake that killed more than 180 people.
“It’s just second nature to us now and I’m pleased they came out in force today.”
The Sikh community in Christchurch offered help in washing the bodies of the victims and digging the graves.
‘I’ll walk with you’
Across the country, New Zealanders also dug deep – the two most prominent crowdfunding campaigns had already raised between them more than 3.2 million New Zealand dollars ($ 2.2m) within 24 hours of the shootings.
Local crowdfunding platform Givealittle crashed briefly on Saturday, while LaunchGood had over 23,000 donors saying they were “United for Christchurch” as they contributed for the New Zealand Islamic Information Centre.
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