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Hundreds gather in London to remember victims of New Zealand mosque shootings

Muslims and New Zealand expatriates were among those to attend the Trafalgar Square event.

People attend a vigil in Trafalgar Square, London, to honour the victims of the New Zealand shootings (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
People attend a vigil in Trafalgar Square, London, to honour the victims of the New Zealand shootings (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Hundreds of people joined hands, held a two-minute silence and sang the New Zealand national anthem in London to pay tribute to the victims of the Christchurch terror attack.

The Stand For Solidarity With New Zealand Peace vigil, organised by Kiwi Community London, a community for New Zealanders in London, was held in Trafalgar Square, on Thursday evening.

Members of the public, families of victims, Muslims, New Zealand expats all gathered to remember the 50 people who died in the attack on two mosques a week ago.

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People attend a vigil in Trafalgar Square, London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Carrie Lawrence, 37, a Kiwi who has lived in London for 10 years, said: “As a New Zealander living in London, I wanted to pay my respects to the Muslim community that live here.

“You usually feel quite proud of being from New Zealand, but one of my automatic responses was whether I could hold my head high again.

“Seeing what has happened in New Zealand really hurts people everywhere, it is not just limited to those in New Zealand.

“There was an unavoidable sense guilt about what has happened.

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High Commissioner for New Zealand Sir Jerry Mateparae (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“However, as the days have gone on, we have seen how the prime minister (Jacinda Ardern) has acted and the response of people from New Zealand have been great, but the forgiving nature of the Muslim community has been a real inspiration to me.”

Faiths Forum For London, a charity which empowers religious communities to work together towards a better London, was one of the many organisations that supported the multi-faith vigil.

Mustafa Field, 38, the charity’s director, said: “Last week’s terror attack was devastating for many communities.

This is a very reactive event but it shows that love is far more stronger Mustafa Field

“There has been a lot of dehumanisation, and the world is moving to a place where we are unable to tolerate each other.

“Throughout England different cities have embraced different cultures, which has enriched our society.

“But for us in the Muslim community, we have been very fearful of attacks like this, we even saw four attacks in Birmingham over the weekend, so we are clearly seeing hate crime on the rise.”

“This is a very reactive event but it shows that love is far more stronger.

“Hate has manifested in bringing out all this love that we have seen tonight.

“We want to correct and challenge those who fear living with difference, change and progress.”

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