- 20,000 mourners gathered in a park near the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch on Friday to hear the 50 mass shooting victims named.
- Survivor Ahmed Farid’s wife Husna was killed by the terrorist on March 15, but told the crowd he has forgiven the gunman.
- "I want a heart that will be full of love and care and full of mercy," Farid told the silent crowd, closely supervised by police.
- The British Muslim singer Yusuf Islam performed, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave a speech reiterating that New Zealand must stamp out extremism.
20,000 people gathered in Christchurch on Friday to remember the victims of the mass shooting which occurred earlier this month, and heard one survivor say he’s forgiven the shooter who killed his wife and 49 other people.
The names of the 50 victims were read out by Christchurch’s Muslim community to a crowd in Hagley Park, opposite the Al Noor mosque where 41 people were killed at 1:40 p.m. on March 15.
Survivor Ahmed Farid took the stage and said his wife Husna was killed in the shooting, but told the amassed crowds he forgives the shooter, in spite of a "heart that is boiling like a volcano."
"I want a heart that will be full of love and care and full of mercy and will forgive easily, because this heart doesn’t want any more lives to be lost," he told the silent crowd.
"I may be from one culture, you may come from another culture, I may have one faith, you may have one faith, but together we are a beautiful garden."
During the naming of the victims, two young girls walked onto the stage so one of them could read her dead father’s name. "He passed away on 15 March and he was a really nice man," she said.
Before the speeches, hundreds of Muslim worshippers congregated in an area supervised by police to perform a special set of Friday prayers.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took the stage to pay her respects to the dead during the memorial.
"Our challenge now is to make the very best of us a daily reality," she said. "We are not immune to the viruses of hate, of fear, of other. We have never been."
"But we can be the nation that discovers the cure. And so to each of us as we go from here, we have work to do."
Joining the mourners was the British singer Yusuf Islam, who performed his single "Peace Train."
Islam, a Muslim since the 1970s, told the crowd: "We learn about things through their opposites. And it’s through opposites like this, the evilness of that act and what drove it, we find its opposite, which is the love and kindness and unity that has sprung up right here in New Zealand."
48 hours after the attack on March 15, Prime Minister Ardern announced military-style semiautomatic and assault rifles would be banned. It’s believed the gunman used an AR-15 military grade rifle during the attack.
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