Tongans living in New Zealand have been asked to wear black this week as a sign of support for the country’s Muslim community.
One News reported this evening that Tongan community leaders have also asked Tongans to meet in Aotea Square this Sunday at 2pm for a Love Aotearoa Hate Racism hui.
Tongan church groups have been holding special prayer sessions for the cessation of terrorism.
On Sunday the brass band from the Pulela’a Methodist Church in New Lynn played outside an Auckland mosque. Church members prayed and laid flowers.
Religious communities throughout New Zealand have responded with similar support.
Commissioner Andy Westrupp, Territorial Commander of The Salvation Army New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa condemned what he called “an unprecedented act of violence in Christchurch towards people who were peacefully at worship”
“The horror of these attacks reminds us of our shared humanity and the urgent need to stand for love and peace. Everyone will do that in their own way, but regardless of religious belief, caring is a response that we can all share.”
New Zealand’s Catholics bishops have expressed their solidarity with the country’s Muslim community after mass shootings at two mosques killed nearly 50 people on Friday morning.
In a statement, the heads of New Zealand’s six Catholic dioceses said they wished the Muslim community to “be aware of our solidarity with you in the face of such violence.”
Friday’s massacre has touched some Tongans in personal ways.
In Lower Hutt, Tongan mother Pesi Vaioleti said she was heart broken to see the events in Christchurch.
She said the hatred was affecting the country’s children.
Her son attends a Muslim kindergarten next to the town’s mosque, which has been closed on police advice.
Vaioleti is a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints, but said she wanted her son to accept all cultures and religions.
In the latest developments, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has promised that reforms of gun laws will be announced within 10 days.
According to Al Jazeera, the government’s rapid response on gun control has bewildered some Americans, who are used to their government expressing sympathy to the victims of the country’s frequent shootings, but never actually doing anything to control guns.
Internet providers in New Zealanders are working to deny access to the footage streamed by the gunman during the attack. Facebook has been heavily criticised for carrying the footage.
In Australia, the focus has shifted to angry responses to statements by Queensland Senator Fraser Anning, who appeared to blame the victims for the massacre.
In the UK, several people have been arrested for threatening taxi drivers that they would “do a Christchurch” on them. In some parts of the UK, taxi drivers are predominantly Muslim.
And in the US, Reuters has reported that mosques have increased security since the shootings. The Council on American-Islamic Relations said CAIR, the largest Muslim rights group in the United States, said Muslims and other minority groups had faced a surge in bigotry since Donald Trump won the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
A CAIR statement blamed this in part on what it described as “Islamophobic, white supremacist and racist Trump administration policies and appointments.”
Reuters said the man accused of Friday’s massacre posted a manifesto online which praised Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.” The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
The main points
- Tongans living in New Zealand have been asked to wear black this week as a sign of support for the country’s Muslim community.
- One News reported this evening that Tongan community leaders have also asked Tongans to meet in Aotea Square this Sunday at 2pm for a Love Aotearoa Hate Racism hui.
- Tongan church groups have been holding special prayer sessions for the cessation of terrorism.
For more information
Lower Hutt Muslim kindergarten closed after Christchurch mosque shootings
Gun law reforms to be announced ‘within 10 days’ of the attack – PM says
Call for love and peace – Salvation Army response to Christchurch mosque shootings
Catholic leaders condemn attack on New Zealand mosques
U.S. mosques increase security after New Zealand attack