The world reacted with outrage and revulsion at last week’s white supremacist terror attack on two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, followed by an outpouring of empathy and sharp denunciations of Islamophobic bigotry.
For the people of New Zealand this has been no less the case, as a vast cross-section of Kiwis extended their support for the local Muslim community.
The wave of solidarity has also included the country’s feared motorcycle clubs, with groups including the Mongrel Mob, King Cobras, Hells Angels and Black Power setting aside their differences and vowing to mobilize members to provide volunteer security services at mosques for this week’s Friday prayers, or jumah, according to The New Zealand Herald.
The president of the Mongrel Mob chapter in Waikato, Sonny Fatu, extended his group’s offer of protection to the Jamia Masjib Mosque in Hamilton. Fatu said:
“We will support and assist our Muslim brothers and sisters for however long they need us … We will not be armed. We are peacefully securing the inner gated perimeter, with other community members, to allow them to feel at ease.”
Leaders of the #MongrelMob, #NewZealands most notorious and heavily tattooed street gang , comes forth to console the families of the victims.#ChristChurch #NewZealandMosqueAttack #Humanity #NewZealandStrong #mosqueshooting #NewZealandAttack pic.twitter.com/jZl9v5Bhur
— Monte al-Hae`ri (@khadim_alzahra) March 16, 2019
Islamic community leaders have welcomed the news but note that they are unbowed by the terrorist attack, and would prefer their compatriots in motorcycle groups join them in prayer instead.
Waikato Muslim Association president Dr. Asad Mohsin told The Herald:
“Some people from the Mongrel Mob had been visiting the mosque during the week, and said they wanted to come on Friday, show their support and solidarity.”
“I feel very good, to receive this support from all different sections of society, different interests and dispositions, to come forward and give their love. It all gives us strength to overcome the grief we are undergoing.”
The Australian Mongrel Mob has also shown its support for the local Muslim community by mobilizing security teams to guard a mosque in Sydney in response to the recent attack.
Last Friday, 28-year-old Australian white-supremacist named Brenton Tarrant attacked two mosques in the city of Christchurch, killing 50 unarmed civilians and inflicting injuries on dozens more. The attacker, an aficionado of so-called “alt-right” or neo-Nazi ideology, live-streamed the massacre and issued a bizarre communiqué interlarded with memes popular among white nationalists to announce his motive behind the attack on helpless civilians. Tarrant is currently in custody while around 30 people remain hospitalized.
This past weekend, outside the Al Noor Mosque which was cordoned off following the massacre, a number of members from the Black Power motorcycle group performed a powerful haka–the ceremonial dance of the indigenous Māori people–before a large crowd that was holding a moment of silence.
Since then, gangs, classes, and groups of Māori from New Zealand to Australia have held their own hakas to express their love and respect for their Muslim brothers and sisters across Oceania, according to Māori news outlet Te Kaea.
Haka expert Te Kahautu Maxwell said:
“It’s the Māori way of dealing with death, it’s the Māori way of expressing grief, it’s the Māori way of expressing love, haka is the Māori way of showing support, haka is part of Māori mourning.”