Islanders pay respects to 50 killed in New Zealand mosque attack

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During an emotional 45-minute vigil, 50 white roses were laid on the steps of the Royal Court building – one for each of the victims shot dead in the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch two weeks ago.

States Members, religious leaders, the Bailiff and the Chief Minister were among those in the crowd – many of whom were holding candles to show their support.

Jersey singer Moya, a contestant on The Voice, closed the ceremony with a rendition of Bridge Over Troubled Water.

The Island’s Muslim leader Sarfraz Jamali thanked Islanders for their support and told the crowd how he had been touched by those who had left flowers outside the mosque in St Helier and even outside his home.

‘Terror does not discriminate. It does not have a religion or race,’ said Mr Jamali, who also thanked the States police for visiting the mosque on the day after the tragedy.

The Bailiff, Sir William Bailhache, said in his speech that ‘we must not become anaesthetised’ to terror attacks despite their frequency. There have been 576 in the past three months worldwide.

‘It does not matter if the perpetrators are Christians, Muslims or Jews, they interfere with the natural order of the world and we condemn them,’ said Sir William.

‘We need to do this [host a vigil] to send that unequivocal message to everyone. The frequency of the attacks must not inhibit that in this respect. And sometimes they seem to come around so often in different parts of the world we can start to think “oh, it is just another one”. We must guard against that and it is important we do.’

Organiser of the event Natalie Strecker, who broke down in tears at the end, said in her speech that a Muslim friend of hers from Jersey narrowly missed being a victim of the terror attack in New Zealand because they ‘missed a bus’.

She added: ‘It breaks my heart that even in our Island, that has had its own experience of living under fascism, we sometimes see messages of hate, xenophobia, Islamophobia and gender bigotry.’

A book of condolences is open in the Royal Court building.

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