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Thu, Apr 25, 2019 8:57 AM
Sat, Mar 23, 2019 1:01

Muslims return to Al-Noor mosque

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Muslims returned to Christchurch’s main mosque on Saturday for the first time since a white supremacist massacred worshippers there, as New Zealand sought to return to normality after the tragedy.

Muslims returned to Christchurch’s main mosque on Saturday for the first time since a white supremacist massacred worshippers there, as New Zealand sought to return to normality after the tragedy.

The Al Noor mosque was taken over by police for investigations and security reasons after alleged gunman Brenton Tarrant attacked Muslims gathered there and at a smaller mosque for Friday prayers, killing 50 people.

But it was handed back to the local Muslim community on Saturday and began allowing small groups onto its grounds around midday.

“We are allowing 15 people at a time, just to get some normality,” said Saiyad Hassen, a volunteer at Al Noor.

“I’m not in a place to say when it is going to (fully) reopen.”

Mosque officials were not immediately available for comment.

Al Noor had remained closed partly so that workers could repair bullet-pocked walls and clean blood-spattered floors, and on Saturday there was a little obvious indication of what took place there.

No bullet holes could be seen and walls appeared to have been freshly painted. 

Inside, emotional Muslim visitors stood quietly as bright sunlight streamed through windows.

There were also other signs of Christchurch moving forward from the trauma, with children seen playing cricket at a park across from the mosque and previously scheduled sporting events expected to go ahead this weekend.

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