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Christchurch attacks: National remembrance service held

Cat Stevens playing guitar on stage at a memorial service for victims of the shooting on 29 March

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Reuters

Image caption

Cat Stevens has rarely performed since converting to Islam

A memorial service has been held in Christchurch, New Zealand – and screened around the nation – to honour the victims of shootings on March 15.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke at the televised event, along with Muslim leaders and a survivor of the attack.

Cat Stevens, the British singer who converted to Islam in the 1970s, also performed.

More than 20,000 people attended the event at the city’s Hagley Park, amid tight security.

Addressing the crowd, Ms Ardern said the focus of the event – the theme of which was “We are one” – should be on New Zealand’s Muslim community.

“This is an event that has affected New Zealand deeply, but it was our Muslim New Zealanders who were targeted in this act of hatred,” she said.

“Rightly so, that will be reflected in the remembrance service.”

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Reuters

Image caption

New Zealanders came together to pay respect to those killed in the mosque killings

Farid Ahmed, who survived the attack by a far-right gunman but whose wife Husna was killed, made a plea for peace. He said he had forgiven the gunman.

A Muslim invocation rang out across the park, and Cat Stevens, whose Muslim name is Yusuf Islam, sang his songs Peace Train and Don’t be Shy.

Image copyright
EPA

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Jacinda Ardern thanked the global community for reaching out to New Zealand

The prime minister announced on Thursday that Prince William will visit New Zealand next month and meet survivors of the attack.

Christchurch attacks: National remembrance service held}

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