Love letters to Christchurch: St. John's supports Muslim community in wake of attack

As members of the Muslim community in Newfoundland and Labrador continue to mourn the men, women and children who were killed in Friday's terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, allies are coming together to deliver messages of love to the Masjid-an-Noor mosque in St. John's. 

Dozens of people of all ages met at the St. John's Farmers Market to show their support on Monday at an event organized by lawyers Gobhina Nagarajah and Caitlin Urquhart.

"We want to make sure that people here in St. John's know they are safe and loved and that they're not just part of the Muslim community, they are part of this community," said Nagarajah. 

Submitted by Meghan Hollett

Some of the attendees were still in grade school, trying to make sense of such an hateful attack, and doing their best to put on a brave face. 

"I'm making a card. For all the people that died on Friday," said Amreen Islam, who visits the mosque with her family every weekend. 

Jack McGee, who was there with his sister Ursula, said he wanted to make sure his Muslim friends felt safe here in Newfoundland.

"[It's] to make people know that we love them and nothing bad is gonna happen in St. John's." 

Andrew Sampson/CBC

Safaa Tohme, who also has a Syrian food stand at the market, brought her children Mahmood, Rinas, and Sara to the event. 

She was at the mosque with her family on Friday and says that she's been grateful to see such a strong response from the wider community in St. John's.

"We are so sad about what happened in New Zealand. The heart is broken about that," she said.

"Last Friday in the mosque, many people coming to say 'We are all Muslim,' I am happy to see that."

Andrew Sampson/CBC

Mary O'Keeffe found out about the event while listening to CBC Radio and said that as a volunteer with the Association of New Canadians, she wanted to help in whatever way she could. 

"It's a small thing to do but I think it's symbolic of people wanting to show their support for the families who have been affected by the massacre," she said.

"And also for the Muslims that are living here to feel that we support them."

The organizers planned to deliver the well-wishes to the mosque after the event was completed. 

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