Since 2010, Kiore, a homeless man on Saturday sat behind 49 candles outside the Christchurch hospital for Christchurch Victims. People prayed up in the city mosque on Friday afternoon.
He was in the incredulity of what had happened.
“This is God’s own. This shit don’t happen. Not in God’s own. This is a safe house. A safe place,” he told BuzzFeed News. He gestured at the candles. “I’m going to be sitting here ’til they all go out.”
However, several Muslim men are assembled outside the hospital, along Riccarton Avenue.
“I got a call this morning at 6 o’clock, just packed my bags and I was here at about 9 o’clock,” he said.
“Once that’s down, we’re going to start the burial process,” he said. “That’s pretty much what we came for, and we thought that was going to happen today. But the process is a lot longer than what we expected.”
Furthermore, one of them was Ahmed Parkar who worships at the Mt Roskill mosque in Auckland.“Obviously the family members do want to spend some time with their deceased. It’s a shock to everyone,” Parkar said.
“There’s been a lot of pressure and a lot of stress. They’re quite upset and grieving so we’re comforting them as much as we can.”
A group of men walked past, heading up a ramp to the hospital. They greeted Parkar with “brother”.
“Do you know them?” BuzzFeed News asked.
“They’re all from my masjid [mosque],” he said. “And there’s another 30 guys coming.”
Thus, he’d been in meetings all over the day, focused on making sure that deceased receive a proper Islamic burial. Bodies are still being recognized.
Therefore, the custom of Muslims calls for the dead to be buried as soon as it is possible.
Right now, Ahmad said that he felt unsafe.
“When they knocked on the door, the first thing I do was to go upstairs, look through the window to see who’s actually knocking on the door,” he said. “Honestly, at this time and at this moment, I don’t feel safe. Even in my own house.”
Ahmadi’s friend Shiragha Hidari, 20, told BuzzFeed News he is “not good”, but not afraid. “I’m not scared of anything,” he said.
The community is pulling together strongly, but it is still small. Everybody seems to know somebody who has died. The Christchurch Victims are getting all the required support.
Parkar told BuzzFeed News his uncle was at the Al Noor mosque when the shooting unfolded, but was unharmed.
“He happened to escape, so thank god for that. He’s OK and he’s at home at the moment,” he said.
He could not say the same for some friends who he met on a trip to Christchurch in September last year: “It’s really sad to hear that some of the guys I spent time with are no longer here.”