Christchurch victims and families seek healing at haj

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on August 8, 2019 - Duration: 01:29s

Christchurch victims and families seek healing at haj

After surviving the shootings at Christchurch that killed 51 people and injured dozens in March, victims and their families searched for peace and relief at this year's haj pilgrimage.

Joe Davies reports.


Christchurch victims and families seek healing at haj

Wounded, but still walking.

Five months on from the Christchurch mosque attacks, the pain is still very real for Shehadeh Al Sinawi.

In search for peace and relief, he's made his way to Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, for this year's haj pilgrimage.

(English) SHEHADEH AL SINAWI, WHO WAS WOUNDED DURING THE INCIDENT IN CHRISTCHURCH, SAYING: "Just when we came in here, it was really very good news.

We would like to just go away from the place where we got shot.

And to come to a sacred place like Mecca it is a big relief." Fifty-one people were killed when a gunman opened fire at two New Zealand mosques in March.

Dozens more were injured.

Thousands of miles away from where the atrocity took place, more than two million Muslims have gathered in Mecca to complete the haj - one of the five pillars of their faith.

Among them, 200 victims of the Christchurch shootings and their families.

They are being hosted by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ONE OF NEW ZEALAND'S TOP-RANKED MUSLIM POLICE OFFICERS, NALIA HASSAN, SAYING: "For him (Saudi Arabia's King Salman) to extend this invitation to almost 200 New Zealanders to come and perform haj and continue on their journey of rehabilitation has just been something so big for all of us." A victim of terrorism or not, the haj is an opportunity for all Muslims to come together and celebrate their faith.

This year's pilgrimage concludes on Sunday (August 11).

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