Burials begin for New Zealand mosque shooting victims
- 20 March 2019
The bodies of two victims from New Zealand’s mosques mass shooting were carried in open caskets on the shoulders of mourners into a large tent at Christchurch’s Memorial Park Cemetery on Wednesday - the first burials of the 50 victims, ONAreports quoting Reuters.
Wrapped in white cloth the bodies, a father and son, were laid to face Mecca, and after jenazah (funeral) prays, were carried toward their freshly dug graves.
Several mounds of dirt piled high marked the site of multiple graves which will be used for New Zealand’s worst mass shooting.
Hundreds gathered to mourn, some men wearing a taqiyah (skullcap), others shalwar kameez (long tunic and trousers), while women wore hajibs and scarfs.
“Seeing the body lowered down, it was a very emotional time for me,” said Gulshad Ali, who had traveled from Auckland to attend the funeral.
An area was set up for mourners to wash their hands ahead of the service, as is the tradition in Islam. Heavily armed police stood watch with flowers tucked in their revolver holsters and attached to their high powered rifles.
Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist who was living in Dunedin, on New Zealand’s South Island, has been charged with murder following the attack on two mosques last Friday.
He was remanded without a plea and is due back in court on April 5, when police said he was likely to face more charges.
New Zealand’s police chief said global intelligence agencies, including the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and those from Australia, Canada and Britain, were building up a profile of the alleged shooter.
“I can assure you this is an absolute international investigation,” Police Commissioner Mike Bush said at a media briefing in the capital Wellington.