New Zealand PM praises bravery of those caught up in Christchurch shootings
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern praised the bravery and courage by worshippers as a lone gunman massacred their friends and family.
She says the nation stood with its grieving Muslim community in this "darkest of days".
As preparations for the first burials were underway for the 50 people killed last Friday in the Christchurch mosques mass shooting, Ardern singled out three worshippers, including one of the first killed in the attack.
Hati Mohemmed Daoud Nabi, 71, opened the door to the Al-Noor mosque. Ardern said he "uttered the words ‘Hello brother, welcome’. His final words".
"Of course he had no idea of the hate that sat behind the door, but his welcome tells us so much – that he was a member of a faith that welcomed all its members, that showed openness, and care," she said.
Ardern said she never anticipated having to voice the grief of a nation and ended her speech with the Arabic greeting "Al salam Alaikum", meaning "Peace be upon you".
Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist who was living in Dunedin, on New Zealand's South Island, was charged with murder on Saturday.
Tarrant was remanded without a plea and is due back in court on April 5, where police said he was likely to face more charges.
"The families of the fallen will have justice," said Ardern, adding she would never mention the alleged gunman's name.
"He may have sought notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing. Not even his name."
The victims, killed at two mosques during Friday prayers, were largely Muslim migrants, refugees and residents from countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Turkey, Kuwait, Somalia and others.
Bodies of the victims were being washed and prepared for burial in a Muslim ritual process on Tuesday, with teams of volunteers flown in from overseas to assist with the heavy workload.
"We've been very conscious of the need to work sensitively with requirement of each family," Sarah Stuart-Black, Director for the Ministry of Civil, Defence & Emergency Management, said at a press conference in Christchurch.Published: by Radio NewsHub