Christian man tells Muslims he ‘will keep watch while you pray’
People of all faiths are standing with their Muslim neighbours across the world in a public show of support following Friday’s deadly shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that killed 49 worshipers and left 50 wounded.
In Auckland, a Baptist church opened its doors to those whose mosques had been temporarily closed in the wake of the massacre. Catholic bishops issued a statement noting the ‘positive relationships we have with Islamic people in this land,’ and said they were ‘particularly horrified that this has happened at a place and time of prayer.’ Synagogues in the country closed on Shabbat for the first time in history, reports qz.com.
Jewish leaders everywhere called on followers to offer their support to the Muslim community right now.
DC Jews just appearing outside downtown mosque at midday prayer. Someone posted on Facebook and strangers just showing up pic.twitter.com/wVYLDqwgYT
— Michelle Boorstein (@mboorstein) March 15, 2019
The Archbishop of Canterbury urged all Christians to do the same.
Andrew Graystone of Birmingham, England, said, ‘We can respond to these things with either fear or with friendship so I thought I would go to my local mosque and make it clear I saw the people there as friends.’ The 57-year-old stood outside the Madina Mosque with a handwritten sign reading: ‘You are my friends. I will keep watch while you pray.’
The Christian man, who has been named as Andrew Graystone, stood outside a mosque in Manchester holding a supportive handwritten sign, reports mirror.co.uk.
‘You are my friends. I will keep watch while you pray,’ the poster said.
People have been sharing the photograph of Andrew, and have been moved by the ‘beautiful’ gesture.
Andrew, chair of the Christian educational charity The Charnwood Trust, had written on Twitter this morning: ‘Can I suggest that Christians and others who are available gather outside their local mosque during Friday prayers today (about 12-1) to stand guard over our Muslim friends while they pray?’
Meanwhile, US politicians issued messages of condolence. US senator Marco Rubio called the attack ‘pure evil.’ President Donald Trump gave his ‘warmest sympathy and best wishes’ to ‘the people of New Zealand.’ White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders offered ‘thoughts and prayers.’