In the wake of the tragic terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch, members of the Frankton Mosque in Hamilton are keeping their doors open and welcoming the public to join in remembering those who lost their lives.
The mosque, also known as the Hamilton West Islamic Centre or Masjid Al Madeena, attracts Cambridge members to prayer. From Friday to Tuesday this week, armed police maintained a constant presence there. Armed police are still attending all five daily prayer sessions, as well as driving by and stopping in on a regular basis.
“We always feel safe in this place, but we feel more confident now (with a police presence),” said Mohammad Hassan, president of the Islamic centre. “I think they’re doing a good job… we’re alright, we seem to be safe here.”
Hassan said the mosque is still “always open to anybody” to come and join. All different ethnicities attend the mosque.
“We never stop anyone,” said Hassan, adding that Police security are still checking those who attend the mosque for the time being.
A public gathering will be held at the mosque today (March 22) from 5.30 to 6.30pm at 45 Bandon St. Hamilton Mayor Andrew King will speak and kaumatua from Te Rūnanga Ō Kirikiriroa will attend.
“We are inviting everybody in the Waikato to come and join, share, sympathise with the people of Christchurch,” Hassan said.
Hassan added that they had been overwhelmed by the messages of support and sympathy. A collection of flowers and messages have amassed on the street outside the mosque.
“It is really amazing that Kiwis have got together and said hey, we are all one.”
Originally from Fiji, the Waikato resident of 32 years said he never would have dreamed that something like the Christchurch terror attack could happen in New Zealand. Despite that, he still felt confident for the country’s future.
“It has brought a lot of people, all the Kiwis, together. It shows the true sort of Kiwis we have in New Zealand.”
Hassan encouraged all members of the Cambridge community to come along to the Friday evening gathering to commemorate the fallen people of Christchurch.