CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — Biker gangs in New Zealand are standing guard at mosques for the first Friday prayer services since last week's shooting massacre at two mosques in Christchurch that left 50 people dead and dozens injured.
Biker clubs like King Cobra, the Black Power and the Mongrel Mob have offered to protect mosques in various cities, but some Muslim leaders have suggested the gangs join them for prayers instead, according to news outlets.
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The leader of the largest Mongrel Mob chapter in New Zealand, Sonny Fatu, said his group learned the Muslim community was fearful about returning to Friday prayers and wanted to do something to help.
"We will support and assist our Muslim brothers and sisters for however long they need us," Fatu told the New Zealand news site Stuff.
Fatu’s chapter planned to gather outside a mosque in Hamilton, New Zealand.
"We will not be armed. We are peacefully securing the inner gated perimeter, with other community members, to allow them to feel at ease," Fatu said.
Waikato Muslim Association leader Dr. Asad Mohsin told the New Zealand Herald he appreciated the support.
"Some people from the Mongrel Mob had been visiting the mosque during the week and said they wanted to come on Friday to show their support and solidarity," Mohsin said.
"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."
A self-proclaimed Australian white supremacist is suspected of opening fire at two different mosques in Christchurch last week, creating a bloodbath that left the city stunned and grief-stricken.
The 28-year-old man was detained shortly after an attack on a second mosque and is facing murder charges.
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