Waiting and connecting in Chch

Alison Gilmore (left) and Caroline Maze wear headscarves in Christchurch yesterday afternoon, to show solidarity with the Muslim community after the Friday mosque shootings. Photos: Gregor Richardson
Alison Gilmore (left) and Caroline Maze wear headscarves in Christchurch yesterday afternoon, to show solidarity with the Muslim community after the Friday mosque shootings. Photos: Gregor Richardson
Muslims in Christchurch have continued to stun the city and the world with their patience and quiet dignity as dozens of graves are dug and they wait for authorities to release their dead.

Meanwhile, women in the city have begun donning headscarves in a show of solidarity with the city's Islamic community.

The Otago Daily Times noticed several women in the city yesterday of European descent wearing headscarves.

Among them were Alison Gilmore and Caroline Maze, who said they donned the scarves in a show of solidarity and to hopefully make Muslim women in the city feel more comfortable.

''I just wanted to show them that basic connection,'' Ms Gilmore said.

 Const Sarah Brodie, of the Auckland Central Station, plays with (from left) Medha Nasrat Jahan (4), Suvo Rahman (4), Hafcha Akther (7) and Roha Rahman (3) in Hagley Park yesterday afternoon.
Const Sarah Brodie, of the Auckland Central Station, plays with (from left) Medha Nasrat Jahan (4), Suvo Rahman (4), Hafcha Akther (7) and Roha Rahman (3) in Hagley Park yesterday afternoon.
Three days on, the immediate shock has begun to subside, as the magnitude of the tragedy becomes apparent.

Construction workers with heavy earthmoving equipment worked on graves with Muslim volunteers with shovels yesterday at a large tract of land at a cemetery near one of the mosques.

Auckland man Ifraaz Khan, who knew several people killed, arrived at the site of the graves yesterday morning.

He had travelled to Christchurch on Saturday to help families prepare food and mourn their dead.

Mr Khan said he was drawing strength from his Islamic faith.

''We come from God, we have to go back through God.''

Another to turn up at the cemetery was Mohammed Saheb, who had also come from Auckland.

His friend, from Fiji, was killed in the attacks.

The friend had recently obtained residency and was planning to settle in Auckland but had been convinced to tour the South Island first.

He had gone for Friday prayers, was caught up in the attacks and did not make it out alive.

Mr Saheb was not allowed in the cemetery and said it remained unclear when his friend's body would be released.

Across town, outside the family support centre, Sumon Samsul was awaiting word on when the bodies of his two close friends would be released.

He spoke to the Otago Daily Times while his 3-year-old daughter Roha played with Constable Sarah Brodie, who had been deployed from Auckland.

Mr Samsul, a 32-year-old boilermaker who came to New Zealand from Bangladesh about three years ago, said he had planned to go to the mosque on Friday but worked late.

''Maybe God held me back.''

He was sad his friends could not be released to be buried quickly, in line with Islamic custom, but he appreciated the need for thorough postmortems.

''We are saddened but not angry.''

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