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Standing together against hatred with expressions of love and unity

People all over the UK and the world have been coming together to remember those who lost their lives in the Christchurch terror attacks in New Zealand last Friday. Candlelit vigils have been held in towns and cities worldwide, including in London’s Hyde Park, St Ann’s Square in Manchester and Glasgow’s Buchanan Galleries.

As well as honouring the victims of this act of terror, the people of New Zealand have stood together to condemn the kind of hatred, division and violence that the perpetrator wanted to promote.

#HelloBrother 

“Hello brother” were the last words of 71-year-old worshipper Daoud Nabi, as he greeted the attacker at the entrance of the mosque. They have become a mantra for mourners around the world, a hashtag for acts of remembrance, and Nabi has been depicted in deeply touching artwork made in memory of the victims.

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#hellobrother

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There’s now even a video of 100 Muslims and non-Muslims from different countries saying “Hello Brother”, as an affirmation of strength, unity and love over hate.

#TheyAreUs

The hashtag #theyareus (taken from a speech given by New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern) has been adopted to show solidarity with the Muslim community. She has refused to say the terrorist’s name, urging people instead to “speak the names of those who were lost rather than the name of the man who took them”.

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Over the last few years, the world has waited for a courageous, empathetic and bold leader. Someone who steps forward, takes risks, challenges archaic systems and rallies for peace. With this photo, and her actions over the past twelve months, I believe PM @JacindaArdern is such a leader. She is leading with love and courage by being an undeniable source of comfort for the Muslim community, New Zealand and the rest of the world. Within the last twenty four hours, she has chosen language based on inclusion, compassion and belonging. She has challenged world leaders that incite fear and called them out. She has chosen to wear the Hijab in a mark of respect. This photo is even more powerful given the fact that she is the youngest female head of government, a woman, a mother, a leader who is presenting herself in such a manner that the world has not seen in years. She is challenging the stereotype that women are incapable and too emotional to handle national emergencies. More so, she is challenging the bias towards young people in politics. Prime Minister Ardern is paving the way for a new style of courageous leadership. I only hope that through her example, more will follow. Thank you for being a beacon of hope 💛💛 [Image: Christchurch City Council – Kirk Hargreaves]

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#KiaKaha

Translated as “Stay Strong”, many are using this Maori phrase to support New Zealanders in their grief. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge ended their statement on the attacks with the phrase on Friday. And this pretty amazing photo was taken of the staff and students of Orewa College in Auckland spelling it out:

The Haka

Though often associated with New Zealand’s All Blacks rugby team, this ancient ceremonial dance in Maori culture is being performed at memorial sites across NZ in memory of those lost. By all kinds of people, surfers, bikers, in huge groups or alone. Check out this powerful tribute by a group of students outside the Al Noor mosque:

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On Monday, a small group of students in Christchurch, New Zealand, started performing an impromptu haka, a traditional Maori dance, outside one of the mosques that was attacked in Friday’s terrorist attack to honor the victims. Soon, they were joined by scores of students from various schools in a deafening chorus. At least 50 people were killed in the attack, which was the worst mass killing in New Zealand’s history. The haka is a Maori ceremonial dance or challenge that is performed to welcome distinguished guests, or to acknowledge great achievements, occasions or funerals. (📹: Reuters) – #haka #maori #tribute #student #students #girls #boys #shooting #massshooting #gunman #gun #guns #terrorism #terrorist #attack #mosque #mosques #islam #religion #muslim #muslims #islamophobia #islamophobic #christchurch #christchurchshooting #newzealand #nz #kiwi #kiwis #aotearoa

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In the internet age, what happens on the opposite side of the globe can feel a lot closer to home. But whilst we share in the same grief, anxiety and hurt as our brothers and sisters in New Zealand, we can also share in the empathy, unity and love being expressed by people across the UK and the world.

If we stand strong together, hatred will never win.

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