Friday will mark one week since a white nationalist stormed into two mosques in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, with automatic rifles, opening fire on those saying their mid-afternoon prayers. A total of 50 people lost their lives, from elders all the way down the generational ladder to young children murdered as they tried to flee the scene. A further 50 were injured in the horrific attack.
Since then, the usually peaceful nation has been in a state of shock. However, New Zealand has had a never-ending stream of support from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, as well as private citizens showing nothing but an outpouring of love for the affected communities and grief over the terror being brought to their doorstep.
One such group is apparently the Mongrel Mob gang, according to Stuff.co.nz. The gang leader, Sonny Fatu, has pledged to stand guard outside the Jamia Masjid Mosque in Hamilton on Friday during Jumu'ah with other members, in solidarity with their Muslim countrymen so that they may continue to pray with some peace of mind.
The head of the Waikato Muslim Association, Asad Mohsin, has also issued an invitation to the gang members to join them inside the mosque for prayers, should they wish to experience it for themselves."We will support and assist our Muslim brothers and sisters for however long they need us," Fatu said.
"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 a part of the safety net for them to allow them to pray in peace without fear. Of course we would do that, there was no question about that and we will be dressed appropriately."Despite the shooting last week, Fatu has confirmed that the gang will not be armed on Friday when they stand guard outside the mosque, wanting instead to offer a peaceful front to the community and the world at large.
The Mongrel Mob has a number of factions in the region, including Australia, where members surrounded a mosque in Sydney to protect Muslims during their prayers this week. Other factions have pledged to follow the lead of the Hamilton members by showing their support on Friday as well.
And they aren't even the only ones. Both the King Cobra and the Black Power gangs have also offered their help to their fellow countrymen.
All over the world, there have been groups and individuals who have taken it upon themselves to guard mosques during prayers in order to show their solidarity with the community in wake of the awful attack.
Ardern has also ordered that the Muslim call to prayer be broadcast on both television and radio on Friday across New Zealand and that two minutes of silence be observed for the many lives so senselessly lost.