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Imam of attacked New Zealand mosque says 'we still love this country'

AFP  |  Christchurch 

An who was leading prayers at a Christchurch when a gunman brandishing semi-automatic weapons mowed down his congregation said Saturday that the Muslim community's love for would not be shaken by the massacre.

"We still love this country," said Ibrahim Abdul Halim, of Linwood Mosque, vowing that extremists would "never ever touch our confidence".

Halim gave a harrowing account of the moment during Friday prayers when gunshots rang out in the mosque, replacing peaceful reflection with screaming, bloodshed and death.

"Everyone laid down on the floor, and some women started crying, some people died immediately," he said.

But, he said, Muslims still felt at home in the nation.

"My children live here" he said, adding, "we are happy".

He said the majority of New Zealanders "are very keen to support all of us, to give us full solidarity", describing how strangers exchanged hugs with him on Saturday.

"They start to... give me big hug, and give me more solidarity. This is something very important."

The attacks on two mosques by a right-wing extremist left 49 people dead.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, March 16 2019. 09:45 IST
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