Jordanian prince visits Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch

7:21 pm on 23 March 2019

A member of the Jordanian royal family has visited the Al Noor Mosque this afternoon and comforted some of those affected by last week's attack.

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His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal Hashemite visited the Al Noor Mosque when it reopened for prayer this afternoon for the first time since last week's terrorist attacks. Photo: RNZ / Isra'a Emhail

His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal Hashemite from Kingdom of Jordan laid flowers and hugged one man who had lost a close friend.

He described the shootings as "a moment of deep anguish for all of humanity".

"We stand together proud of our commitment to peace in this beautiful country of New Zealand which has so much to teach us in terms of the solidarity and the human love and compassion that has been so manifest," he said.

While the prince expressed his deep gratitude to New Zealand, he also said he had great sadness that an atrocity of this scale had happened here.

"I have lived in a part of the world where every 10 years we have seen a war.

"Every 10 years we have seen refugees, and to feel that this form of violence and cruelty is visited on you living in this idyllic part of the world is deeply moving."

His visit was warmly welcomed by one Jordanian family, who now lived in Dunedin.

Eighteen-year-old Kassem al-Kawaji travelled with his father and sister to Christchurch to attend Friday's funeral.

He broke through the crowds to hug the Prince and thanked him for coming.

Kassem's father, Ali said the Prince was "honest and humble" and felt the visit was very important for everyone, not just those Jordanians who lived in New Zealand.

"Its not just for the Jordanians, it's for all the Middle Eastern people here. At least someone from his (the Prince's) level to come here," he said.

But Ali al-Kawaji said while the Prince's visit was special, the response from New Zealand as a whole had eased the Muslim community's pain.

During the visit to the mosque, the Prince also talked about the four-year-old Jordanian girl who remains in Starship Hospital in Auckland.

He said he hoped to speak with her family when he travels back to Auckland.

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