New Zealand biker gangs will guard Muslims outside mosques for first Friday prayer following massacre
Following the horrific white supremacist attack on two mosques in the city of Christchurch, in which 50 people were killed and 50 were injured, New Zealanders are rallying together to support their Muslim neighbors. Biker gangs such as The Mongrel Mob, King Cobra and The Black Power have reached out to local Muslim communities, volunteering security for this week's jumah, the first Friday prayer since the attack on March 15.
"We will support and assist our Muslim brothers and sisters for however long they need us," Waikato Mongrel Mob president Sonny Fatu told the New Zealand news outlet, Stuff. "The question was posed whether we could be a part of the safety net for them to allow them to pray in peace without fear. Of course we would do that, there was no question about that and we will be dressed appropriately."
"We will not be armed," Fatu added. "We are peacefully securing the inner gated perimeter, with other community members, to allow them to feel at ease." The Mongrel Mob has vowed to stand guard outside the Jamia Masjid Mosque in Hamilton.
Although the Muslim community is not scared to attend prayer service, they appreciate the support from "different sections of society, different interests, and dispositions," stated Dr Asad Mohsin, head of the Waikato Muslim Association, while speaking to Stuff.
"It all gives us strength to overcome the grief we are undergoing," Mohsin said. "We would welcome them to come into the mosque and pray with us. They are part of us as we are part of them. Islam is inclusive, free of judgement - we don't see gang members, as we see them. We value them as humans and we appreciate that they value us too."
Last Saturday, King Cobra bikers paid tribute to members of the Al-Masjid Al-Jamie mosque in Ponsbony, a suburb of Auckland. The next day, members of the Black Power gang performed the traditional 'haka' dance outside the Al-Noor Mosque in Christchurch. Meanwhile, Mongrel Mob bikers paid their respects at various locations in New Zealand, plus an Australian chapter of the reportedly patrolled a mosque in Sydney.
Less than 48 hours after the mass shooting, the New Zealand government moved to ban semi-automatic weapons across the country. "The offender was in possession of a gun license," stated New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern. "While work is being done as to the chain of events that lead to both the holding of this gun license and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now. Our gun laws will change."
New Zealand's bold reaction stands in stark contrast to America, where mass shootings occur on a regular basis, and movement on firearm restriction is met with heavy resistance from pro-gun advocates and lobbyists, resulting in little to no action from feckless politicians.