Christchurch terror attacks: Muslims return to Al Noor and Linwood Mosques for Friday prayers

9:49 am on 5 April 2019

Muslims are returning to the Al Noor and Linwood Mosques in Christchurch for Friday prayers, the first time since the 15 March terror attacks.

Al Noor Mosque is strewn with flowers and offerings honouring the victims of the terror attack there.

Flowers and offerings honouring the victims who died at the Al Noor Mosque during the terror attack. Photo: RNZ / Alex Perrottet

It's a small sign of things starting to get back to normal for a community that has had its world turned upside down.

But University of Canterbury Muslim Students' Association president Bariz Shah says some people returning to the mosques still feel anxious.

"A little bit of it will always remain until laws have been enacted and people are actually confident enough in the government's actions to be able to be like 'ok now things have changed, things are safe now, something like this will never happen again'.

Mr Shah doesn't think security outside the mosques will help much, despite the increased presence.

"It's not going to stop an attacker from attacking if they were to attack."

Fifty people were killed during Friday prayers when the Al Noor and Linwood Mosques were attacked.

Mr Shah said last Friday when he was praying he was thinking about what he would do if something was to happen.

"I was thinking where the exits were, I was thinking how could I stop the attackers from maybe hurting people."

Mr Shah believes it's probably on the mind of others who are praying as well.

However, he said he is also relaxed knowing he is praying in front of his creator.

"The feeling amongst all the brothers and sisters are quite relaxed compared to how it was the first week, but we still need to work on the few things we have ahead of us."

"We need to actually put in laws and stop something like this from ever happening again in New Zealand."

Mr Shah said he doesn't just mean guns as "unfortunately the people that do act like this I'm sure they already have done... I'm sure they will keep their guns in hiding".

He believes the things that need to be addressed include hate speech, subtle racism and education about different religions in schools and universities.

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