Rush to dig dozens of graves for the 49 murdered Muslims – ahead of an unprecedented number of burials
- Workers have begun digging dozens of burial sites at a cemetery in Christchurch
- At least 49 funerals are currently being planned for following Friday’s shootings
- Islamic custom dictates that the deceased should be buried withing 24 hours
- One defiant local teenager wept as she said the city ‘would not stand for hatred’
- Australian man Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, is charged over the terror attack
Christchurch’s Muslim population faced a daunting task on Saturday as they worked to prepare for 49 Islamic funerals.
Workers used heavy machinery to prepare at least a dozen graves at a cemetery near Christchurch on Saturday afternoon, ahead of the unprecedented number of burials due in the coming hours.
They moved swiftly to stay in line with the Islamic custom that dictates the deceased should be buried within 24 hours of their passing.
But local Islamic leaders have admitted they have never seen a burial quite like this.
Workers used heavy machinery to prepare at least a dozen graves at a Christchurch cemetery on Saturday afternoon (pictured) ahead of an unprecedented number of Islamic burials
They moved swiftly to stay in line with the Islamic custom that dictates the deceased should be buried within 24 hours of their passing (pictured, confirmed victim Haji Daoud Nabi)
But local Islamic leaders have admitted they have never seen a burial quite like this (confirmed victim, Naeem Rashid)
The grim photos show the daunting task facing Christchurch’s Muslim population – preparing for 49 Islamic funerals while still trying to come to terms with the horrific terror attack
‘They (the community) is in shock, having to sit down and plan 49 funerals,’ Dr Zain Ali, an Islamic expert at Auckland University, told Daily Mail Australia.
‘They’re just coming to terms with the death of these people. A message went out saying “we need help organising this” … people are just not in a frame of mind’.
A Christchurch Council spokesman has confirmed that ‘the council is currently in the process of getting plots ready’.
The local Muslim community is struggling to come to with the scale of the tragedy and their grief is visible everywhere.
In the city hundreds have left floral tributes and written messages on the pavement at the Masjid Al Noor mosque, where the first shooting occurred on Friday afternoon.
One mourner, Nadia Edmond, 18, wept as she laid flowers, saying she and the city’s young people would not stand for ‘this hatred’.
Islamic custom dictates that the deceased should be buried within 24 hours of their death
Nadia Edmond (pictured), 18, wept as she laid flowers, saying she and the city’s young people would not stand for ‘this hatred’
‘No matter how much we’ve been through we’re simply not going to stand for this hatred that’s happened yesterday,’ Nadia said
‘The reason why I am so emotional today – almost heavy tears – is you see almost everyone in Christchurch uniting together.
‘No matter how much we’ve been through we’re simply not going to stand for this hatred that’s happened yesterday.
‘I was pleasantly surprised with the youth of Christchurch how they all came together even through social media, saying that ‘we’re not going to stand for this.’
‘We’re not going to be the generation to let this kind of thing happening in the future.
‘And we need to be accepting of everyone, because no matter who they are they are a part of us,’ she said, her father Neil by her side.
Local residents leave floral tributes at Deans Avenue near the Al Noor Mosque on March 16, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand. At least 49 people are confirmed dead
Floral tributes are left before dawn at Deans Avenue near the Al Noor Mosque on March 16, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand
‘(Christchurch) is a safe place and this has almost taken Christchurch’s innocence.
‘I don’t think any of us are going to grow up and live with the safety that we’re used to.’
As for the city’s Islamic community, she wanted them to know: ‘They are so loved’.
‘And this should never have happened to them’.