Community shows solidarity with victims of New Zealand shootings
PUBLISHED: 15:32 22 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:33 22 March 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
People from all walks of life in Norwich came together at a city mosque to pay tribute to those who were killed in shootings in New Zealand.
Members of the Muslim and Christian communities joined local politicians and the public at the remembrance and solidarity gathering, which was organised and hosted by the Norfolk and Norwich Muslim Association (NNMA).
It marked one week since a gunman opened fire in two mosques in Christchurch, killing 50 people and injuring dozens more. Self-described white supremacist Brent Tarrant, 28, has been charged with murder in connection with the massacre.
Sirajul Islam, of the NNMA, said the association was “very impressed” with the event’s turnout and the show of solidarity it symbolised.
“It was very positive. Speeches were given with support and kindness about standing together in this difficult situation to eradicate the hate from society,” he said.
“We are very impressed and very happy with the kindness and support that people have shown.”
Clive Lewis, Norwich South MP, attended and gave a speech at the solidarity gathering at the NNMA’s community centre on Dereham Road on Friday.
Commenting on the mass shootings, Mr Lewis said: “I want a world where we respect each other, and which understands strength comes from our diversity.
“We will not allow people who commit terrible acts like these to divide us. We stand in solidarity with all those who suffered in New Zealand and with Muslims in our city too.
“An attack on any one community or any one place of worship, whatever the faith, is actually an attack on all of us.”
Also in attendance were Norwich city and county councillors, Dean of Norwich the Very Revd Jane Hedges and the chaplain of HMP Norwich.
Speaking before the event, Mr Islam said members of Norwich’s Muslim community had been visiting the centre to give and seek support in the wake of the attacks in New Zealand on March 15.
“We hope no one thinks it could be replicated here but we need to be vigilant and we need to make people aware of what is going on,” he said.