As flowers and letters of love are laid in front of the Mataura mosque, committee members stand inside united and unafraid after the Christchurch terrorist attack on Friday.
At 1.40pm during Friday prayers, a man walked into the central city Al Noor mosque and Linwood mosque in Christchurch, killing 50 people and injuring more than 30.
Mataura mosque association secretary Ariffin Abidin said in times of tragedy there was always hope.
“There is a silver lining; we have to stand up and wake up.
“We see a lot of people coming to the mosque. Non-Muslim people are starting to get to know Islam; people from different walks of life and different skin colours are getting together to protest this particular event – it’s good for humanity,” Mr Abidin said.
As a human being it was normal to feel fear and be devastated, he said.
“This is very horrendous but the question we have to raise to ourselves as Muslim and as a community, it can happen to anybody.”
Iman [leader] Hajizamberi Bin Matyunuswas overwhelmed by the support from the community.
“We are thinking it can’t happen again. I really appreciate and respect all the [community] members who come here, give flowers. They share my heart,
“You all come to me. I’m so proud. You’re like my family,” Mr Matyunus said through tears.
Mr Matyunus had lived in fear in other countries but never in New Zealand, he said.
Committee member Abdul Halim Adbul Karim has lived in New Zealand for 18 years.
The attack left him with a range of emotions.
‘We have to stand up’
“We never thought this is going to happen here. It’s out of my mind.
“New Zealand is such a peaceful country. It’s mixed .. whether you’re going to be angry, sad, confused,” Mr Karim said.
Living in fear was not an option for him.
“For me, I’m not scared at all, for what I believe .. It makes us more stronger to do what we are doing now.”
The Mataura mosque, located in Main St, was the religious focus of a small community of about 25 people from Mataura, Gore, Wyndham and Tapanui.
It remained open for prayers but Senior Sergeant Cynthia Fairley, of Gore, said armed police would be outside during prayers in support of the Muslim community.
“It’s about reassuring the people affected and the entire community they are safe,” Snr Sgt Fairley said.
Mr Matyunus and other members would travel to Christchurch today to be with the Muslim community.
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