Prayers, flowers and love

Mosgiel woman Chantelle Carran places flowers on the grass of Memorial Park during a vigil for the Christchurch mosque shootings. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Mosgiel woman Chantelle Carran places flowers on the grass of Memorial Park during a vigil for the Christchurch mosque shootings. Photo: Peter McIntosh
A Mosgiel vigil for the Christchurch mosque victims starts with a prayer.

More than 400 people with tired eyes gather in a circle at Memorial Park.

They sing God of Nations and Amazing Grace and one by one lay down flowers and candles in the centre.

Syrian man Wasim Askar steps forward, telling the sombre crowd he feels the love of his neighbours in this dark time.

''We can hear your hearts beating.''

He says when he moved to New Zealand from his wartorn country he thought it was the most peaceful place on Earth.

He calls it heaven.

He still believes this, despite recent horrors.

The fallen in Christchurch have simply moved from a heaven on Earth to one in the sky, he says.

A Syrian woman says a short Arabic prayer before breaking down in tears.

A police officer stands guard with a military rifle.

In a moment of silence the only noise comes from the playground.

Muslim children are laughing and playing, seemingly unaware of the tragedy.

jono.edwards@odt.co.nz

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