It was a moment when Gloucester stood in “unity and solidarity” against those who try to divide us.
Hundreds of people gathered outside Gloucester Cathedral to pay their respects to those innocent people slain by a gunman in New Zealand.
The world has been left reeling and in shock after the gunman opened fire on two mosques in Christchurch on Friday.
Condolences for those in New Zealand have been pouring out of the city as well as messages of support and comfort for the Muslim communities here in Gloucestershire in the aftermath of the attack.
(Image: Gloucestershire Live)
Muslims attending Friday prayers at two mosques – Al Noor and Linwood – were targeted.
Along with the 50 people killed, another 50 are injured of which 30 are in the Christchurch hospital. Nine of them are in a critical condition. The first funeral of those killed was held today.
Police have charged a 28-year-old Australian man with murder.
By Monday people in Gloucester were mobilising to show their support for what had happened in New Zealand, with Hash Norat of Gloucester Feed the Hungry leading the charge.
Within hours the Bishop of Gloucester Dr Rachel Treweek and the Dean of Gloucester Stephen Lake had offered Cathedral Green as a place to hold a moment’s silence the following day.
At noon on Tuesday hundreds gathered outside the Cathedral to pay their respects with community and civic leaders joining leaders including Imam Hassan of the Masjid-e-Noor mosque in Barton.
(Image: Gloucestershire Live)
Mr Norat said he was “overwhelmed” by the reception and said it was to remember the victims of all terror attacks, not just the one last week.
“It was for all the victims of terror, regardless of the reason why they did it,” he said. “We have lost a lot of innocent lives due to what? They say it’s their faith, to me terrorism doesn’t have a faith.”
The Very Reverend Stephen Lake opened the proceedings and said: “We just wanted to come together as people of faith and people of goodwill to show our solidarity to those who had died and lost loved ones in Christchurch.
“To show that we don’t stand alongside those who use hate and evil.”
Mr Norat who feared that only a handful of people would turn up was overcome with emotion that as amnay 500 people were in the crowd.
“This is my city, I love my city, I love you people, I live the people of Gloucester. We have to stand together regardless of our faith, colour, religion, creed,whatever it is is,” he said.
Imam Hassan, who gave a reading from the Qu’ran also said: “As we stand in the grounds of our beautiful cathedral we must remember that places of worship are places of sanctuary, an attack on of a place of worship is an attack against all faiths.
“People of all faiths and none must unite.”
Among those standing in the crowds were former England rugby captain and Gloucester Rugby legend Phil Vickery.
He said “I just felt compelled to be here today, to be around to show that I’m here and thinking of those people in New Zealand. It’s a wonderful country, full of wonderful people.”
Speaking afterwards Bishop Rachel said: “I think it’s really important that people come together at times like this. To show that this is our city, and we will not be moved.”
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