In the wake of a terror attack on two Christchurch mosques that took the lives of 49 people and injured at least 20, people have been expressing their sympathies for the victims by leaving flowers at local mosques in New Zealand and around the world.
A post by New Zealand’s public broadcasting station showed flowers left outside a mosque in Auckland.
Floral tributes at the gate of the Al Masjid al Jamie mosque in Ponsonby, Auckland have been arriving since yesterday.— RNZ (@radionz) March 15, 2019
One man laying flowers this morning, Richard, says it was a way of saying 'we are thinking of you and we are one'. pic.twitter.com/hWP2QHqafn
Soon after, images of similar memorials at other mosques around the country began to appear on Twitter.
Meghan Stewart-Ward says she brought flowers to Dunedin's mosque to show her love and support for the Muslim community . "The majority of people in New Zealand are here to support you and respect your right to worship freely." #Christchurch @rnz_news @CheckpointRNZ pic.twitter.com/UzSYSj8D0V— Tess Brunton (@TessBrunton489) March 15, 2019
Many of the people leaving flowers have not been Muslim themselves. Rather, the floral tributes have become a way for people to express unity and solidarity in the face of Islamophobic and anti-immigration sentiment.
A heap of flowers were left outside our mosque in Palmerston North and cops are guarding the place with guns. Thank you for your support ???? pls stay safe. pic.twitter.com/jNqeflktVK— Syeda (@SyahidaAmila) March 15, 2019
Worlds southern most mosque - Invercargill - flowers already placed. It’s deserted apart from a police van with two guys inside with guns. pic.twitter.com/wQRvWmKsc9— ?????? ???? (@marcuslush) March 15, 2019
In London, the New Zealand War Memorial in Hyde Park Corner became a center of mourning. Several people gathered for a vigil Friday evening and to lay flowers to express their condolences.
Flowers and messages of kindness have been showing up in other parts of the world as well. One mosque in Vancouver shared images of their front gates on Twitter.
People have started dropping off flowers at Al-Masjid Al-Jamia in Vancouver. A vigil is being held here tonight in the wake of the deadly mosque shooting in New Zealand @NEWS1130 @CityNewsVAN pic.twitter.com/3AcYr2yoVs— Hana Mae Nassar (@HanaMaeNassar) March 15, 2019
Many more around Europe and in the U.S. have begun to do the same.
Prime Minister’s Jacinda Ardern has described as a “terrorist attack” and “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”
The attack was carried out by an Australian white-nationalist who detailed his motivations in a 74-page manifesto. The man, who is now in custody, live-streamed the horrific event on Facebook. While the original post has been deleted, social media sites have been struggling to remove footage from the gruesome video online.