As Muslims conduct their first Friday prayer meeting since the Christchurch massacre, members of the Waikato Mongrel Mob have vowed to stand guard outside mosques across New Zealand to protect their Muslim brothers and sisters from harm.
In a supportive gesture to ensure the Muslim community can pray "without fear", Waikato Mongrel Mob president Sonny Fatu has offered to protect Jamia Masjid Mosque in Hamilton, in New Zealand's North Island, Daily Mail reports.
Aside from the Mongrel Mob, several other biker gangs across the country have thrown their support behind the cause in the wake of the gruesome attack which claimed the lives of 50 people and left dozens more injured.
"We will support and assist our Muslim brothers and sisters for however long they need us," Fatu told Stuff. "We were contacted by a representative who tagged me in and said some of our Muslim brothers and sisters have fears for Friday during their prayer, and the question was posed whether we could be a part of the safety net for them to allow them to pray in peace without fear."
Dr. Asad Mohsin, president of the Waikato Muslim Association, said he appreciated the support they have received from "different sections of society, different interests, and dispositions" and said he did not view the mob as "gang members." He added, "We value them as humans and we appreciate that they value us too."
In fact, Mohsin has invited the gang to pray inside the mosque as opposed to standing guard outside, saying that it is imperative for the community to not bow down to the threat of terror. Speaking to the New Zealand Herald, he said, "There are no fears, and we are not scared. They don't have to stand outside the mosque, they can come inside, right behind where the sermon is given."
That said, the Muslim community has opened its doors to all members of the public on Friday after receiving support from the police. He insisted that if they cannot accommodate everyone inside, they will offer space at the park. "We would love everybody to come, but we don't want anybody to show they are scared. We are not scared. You don't have to stand outside the mosque, we want you to be inside, with us," he added.
In response, Fatu promised that the gang will not be armed that their gesture will be a "peaceful" one. "We are peacefully securing the inner gated perimeter, with other community members, to allow them to feel at ease," he added. "Our differences are the glue that hold us so tightly together. We must now focus not on where we have been, but where we are going. Let us repair the holes in our waka and restrategize the rest of our journey."
Having said that, scores of members of Black Power, Hells Angels, King Cobras, and the Mongrel Mob have paid tributes to the victims this week.