Cape Town – Sympathisers gathered on the steps of St George’s Cathedral last night for a candlelight vigil in honour of the victims of the terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday. Remanded without a plea, he was due back in court on April 5 where police said that he was likely to face more charges.
Friday’s attack, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern labelled terrorism, was the worst peacetime mass killing in New Zealand.
Ardern also said she wanted to talk to Facebook as footage of the attack on one of the mosques was broadcast live on the network and a “manifesto” denouncing immigrants as “invaders” was posted online via links to related social media accounts minutes before the violence began.
The candlelight vigil was arranged by the dean of the St George’s Cathedral, Michael Weeder.
The attack prompted a flood of support for Muslims the world over, and the cathedral gathering was one of hundreds of similar events around the globe. “An invite went out on a broad extent on social media to all people at large,” Weeder said.
This will be some comfort to our Muslim faith community this will be for everyone killed and we pray that the number of deceased doesn’t increase.”
The horror attack reverberated across the world eliciting widespread condemnation from world leaders.
The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) stressed that South African political leaders needed to do more to counter Islamophobia and acts of terrorism against any group.
MJC president Sheikh Irafaan Abrahams said: “The event is tragic and a reminder of our fragility as a people and society.”
Chairperson of the South African Muslim Network Dr Faisal Suliman called on all Muslims across the world to react with the dignity and self-restraint that was inherent in the teachings of the Qur’an.