Motorbikers Promise to Protect Muslims in New Zealand

Published March 22nd, 2019 - 11:39 GMT
A notorious motorcycle gang (pictured performing a haka at the Jamia Masjid mosque in Hamilton on the North Island) stood guard outside the mosque on Friday in a moving display of solidarity after the Christchurch terror attack (AFP)
A notorious motorcycle gang (pictured performing a haka at the Jamia Masjid mosque in Hamilton on the North Island) stood guard outside the mosque on Friday in a moving display of solidarity after the Christchurch terror attack (AFP)

A notorious motorcycle gang performed a stirring haka outside a mosque in New Zealand on Friday in a moving display of solidarity after the Christchurch terror attack.

Members of the Mongrel Mob, one of the country's largest gangs with more than 1,000 associates, vowed to protect their 'Muslim brothers and sisters' praying at the Jamia Masjid mosque in Hamilton on the North Island.

Wearing their trademark black and red leather waistcoats which feature the words Mongrel Mob alongside the gang's British Bulldog insignia, members performed their haka before standing guard outside the mosque.

Their performance was met with a round of applause and cheering from members of the Muslim community who watched before heading inside to pray.

 

Poignant pictures from the scene showed local Muslim Association president Dr Asad Mohsi touching noses with gang members in a traditional Maori greeting called the Hongi after he welcomed their support.

The display came after New Zealand fell silent during a poignant memorial service in Christchurch's Hagley Park opposite the Al Noor mosque where worshipers were gunned down.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, wearing a black and gold headscarf in solidarity with the Islamic faith, briefly addressed the emotional gathering. 'New Zealand mourns with you. We are one,' she said.

The call to prayer was heard at 1.30pm local time (11.30am AEDT) and followed by two minutes of silence.

Then Imam Gamal Fouda gave a moving speech in which he said the 50 victims were martyrs and their blood has 'watered the seeds of hope'.

On Wednesday local Mongrel Mob president Sonny Fatu vowed to help make Muslims feel safe while they prayed.

'We will support and assist our Muslim brothers and sisters for however long they need us,' he told Stuff.

'We were contacted by a representative who said some of our Muslim brothers and sisters have fears for Friday during their prayer, and the question was posed whether we could be apart of the safety net for them to allow them to pray in peace without fear.'

Waikato Muslim Association president Dr Asad Mohsin said he appreciated the support the Muslim community has received from 'different sections of society, different interests and dispositions.'

He said he did not view the mob as 'gang members.'

'We value them as humans and we appreciate that they value us too,' he said.

Mohsin urged that it is important for the community to show they will not bow down to terror and invited the gang to pray inside the mosque as opposed to standing guard outside.

'There are no fears, and we are not scared. They don't have to stand outside the mosque, they can come inside, right behind where the sermon is given,' he told the New Zealand Herald.

Fatu promised the Mongrels' gesture will be a 'peaceful' one and the gang would not be armed.

'We are peacefully securing the inner gated perimeter, with other community members, to allow them to feel at ease,' he added.

'Our differences are the glue that hold us so tightly together. We must now focus not on where we have been, but where we are going. Let us repair the holes in our waka and restrategise the rest of our journey,' said Mongrel president Fatu.

Throughout this week members of the Black Power, Mongrel Mob, Hells Angels, and King Cobras took part in tributes to honour the 50 victims of New Zealand's first ever terror attack.

On Sunday, ten members of Black Power, which was first formed in 1970, gathered near the police cordon at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch to perform a moving haka.

New Zealand fell silent on Friday afternoon during a poignant memorial service exactly a week after the Christchurch terror attack.

Hundreds of Muslims and non-Muslims gathered in the city's Hagley Park opposite the Al Noor mosque where worshipers were gunned down.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, wearing a black and gold headscarf in solidarity with the Islamic faith, briefly addressed the emotional gathering.

'New Zealand mourns with you. We are one,' she said.

The call to prayer was heard at 1.30pm local time (11.30am AEDT) and followed by two minutes of silence.

Then Imam Gamal Fouda gave a moving speech in which he said the 50 victims were martyrs and their blood has 'watered the seeds of hope'.

Zaed Moustafa - who was injured and lost his father and brother in the mosque attacks - was among those paying respects as well as Australian boxer and Muslim convert Anthony Mundine.

In his speech, Imam Gamal Fouda said: 'Last week I saw hatred and rage in the eyes of the terrorist who killed 50 and wounded 42 and broke the hearts of millions.

'Today, from the same place, I look out and I see the love and compassion in the eyes of thousands of fellow New Zealanders and human beings. 

Addressing victims' families, he said: 'Your loved ones did not die in vain. Their blood has watered the seeds of hope.

'Through them, the world will see the beauty of Islam and the beauty of our unity.'

The cleric thanked the New Zealand government, the emergency services and neighbours 'who opened their doors to save us from the killer.'

'Thank you New Zealand for teaching the world what it means to love and care,' he said.

The speaker then called on governments around the world to end hate speech and the politics of hate.

He said the rise of white supremacism was a 'global threat to mankind' and showed that 'terrorism has no race, no colour, no religion.' He called for an end to Islamophobia and the 'irrational fear of Muslims.' 

 


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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