CHRISTCHURCH, March 18 (Reuters) – Kamran Nasir was in a finance lecture in Australia when a gunman slaughtered 50 individuals throughout Friday prayers at two mosques within the New Zealand metropolis of Christchurch.
Inside hours he had joined a band of about 60 volunteers on their technique to wash the lifeless victims, within the somber aftermath of New Zealand’s worst trendy mass capturing spree.
“We acquired this textual content – they want volunteers,” Nasir, 35, instructed Reuters.
“It actually unfolded in an hour and half and we had been working to the airport to catch a flight,” he mentioned, sitting with 4 buddies who had additionally dropped every thing to supply assist.
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Skilled in Islamic funeral rites, the boys from Brisbane who’re linked to Brothers in Want, a charity group, are a part of a contingent drawn from Australia and cities throughout New Zealand to assist a group overwhelmed by the variety of our bodies which should be handled in accordance with ritual.
In addition they epitomize a spirit of generosity that has pulsed throughout a grieving metropolis this week.
“The very first thing that went by means of my head was: They want us,” Nasir mentioned.
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He arrived within the early hours of Saturday, the identical day Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with homicide over the killings. Tarrant was remanded with no plea and is due again in courtroom on April 5 the place police mentioned he was more likely to face extra fees.
Christchurch is subdued. Bunches of flowers have been piled up exterior the botanical gardens and beneath oak bushes reverse one of many mosques, that are guarded by armed police.
Nearly all of victims had been migrants or refugees from international locations equivalent to Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Somalia, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The youngest was a 3 yr previous boy, born in New Zealand to Somali refugee mother and father.
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The victims, after their our bodies had been faraway from the crime scenes, needed to be examined by investigators earlier than they are often ready for burial.
“It’s a religious course of, getting ready the physique to enter the following life,” mentioned Taufan Mawardi, who’s 38 and one in all Nasir’s fellow volunteers.
“I’ve by no means personally accomplished something that’s acquired to do with violent crime, significantly our bodies which were riddled with bullet holes or knife wounds or no matter which may be. So it’s a bit confronting as nicely, anticipating what it’s going to be like in there,” he mentioned.
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Eight groups of six individuals are finishing up the work of cleaning the our bodies earlier than burial.
“You begin from the top, working down from the suitable to the left aspect, to the toes. The mouth and the nostril should be washed,” Nasir mentioned.
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Officers say they’ve launched one physique and that they hope to finish their examinations of the opposite 49 killed as quickly as doable.
“As a lot as it’s emotional, we’ve acquired an excellent help community,” mentioned Nasir.
“For me it’s an honor. It’s an honor to be washing these our bodies.”