Emirati delegation visit mosques in Christchurch

The delegation offered their condolences to the families of those killed in the terror attacks last week

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A delegation from the UAE visited the two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, where at least 50 people were killed in a terror attack last week.

The delegation, which included Dr Ali Al Nuaimi, chairman of the Department of Education and Knowledge in Abu Dhabi, and Saleh Al Suweidi, UAE Ambassador to New Zealand, visited Al Noor and Linwood mosques where they spoke of the UAE's solidarity with the people and government of New Zealand.

They praised New Zealand’s government and Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, and met some of the victims of the attacks and their families.

Dr Al Nuaimi accompanied Inspector Rakesh Naido, representative of New Zealand Police, to meet the imams of each mosque, where he asked how the injured were recovering.

Dr Al Nuaimi, who is also chairman of Hedayah, an international centre to counter extremism, and the delegation visited the families of those who were killed to offer their condolences. They met the daughter of Linda Armstrong, who died while trying to protect an injured woman who would go on to survive the attack.

Armstrong converted to Islam in 2010 and had wished to perform Hajj, the greatest duty of the Islamic religion. In 2017, the Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation sponsored her journey to Makkah as part of a delegation including 1,000 pilgrims from 98 countries.

The UAE delegation also met with several New Zealanders from other religions who were present during the attack, to offer them their support.

On Wednesday, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, offered his condolences to Ms Ardern in a phone conversation.

At least 50 were killed and 40 more injured in the shootings last week. Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a self-described white supremacist, has been charged with murder. More charges are expected to follow.

Funerals for the victims of the attack got under way on Wednesday. Among them were a father and son who had fled the civil war in Syria only to be gunned down in the massacre that Tarrant broadcast live on Facebook.