SOLEMN GATHERING: Local politicians took off their shoes with hundreds of other visitors to attend the prayer service including Livingstone Shire mayor Bill Ludwig, Michelle Landry MP, Rockhampton Region mayor Margaret Strelow and Councillor Rose Swadling
SOLEMN GATHERING: Local politicians took off their shoes with hundreds of other visitors to attend the prayer service including Livingstone Shire mayor Bill Ludwig, Michelle Landry MP, Rockhampton Region mayor Margaret Strelow and Councillor Rose Swadling Leighton Smith

Hundreds turn out to support special prayer for Christchurch

FORMER Christchurch resident Phillip Jenkins was one of the hundreds of visitors to pay tribute to the victims and their families of the Christchurch massacre by attending a special prayer service hosted at the Rockhampton Mosque on Friday evening.

More than 500 people were estimated to have flocked to show their solidarity with the international Muslim community - the mosque was standing room only, with guests overflowing to seating areas down both sides of the building, lit up with big-screen projections of the service inside.

Special Prayer
Crowd packed into the space next to the mosque. Leighton Smith

Standing outside the prayer event, Mr Jenkins said he made the trek from Yeppoon for the event after reading about it on social media.

Martin Turner and Phillip Jenkins attend the prayer service at Rockhampton Mosque
Yeppoon's Martin Turner and Phillip Jenkins showed solidarity by attending the Rockhampton Mosque prayer service. Jann Houley

"I'm incredibly heartened that people have come along to show respect for a community that deserves the respect. We are with them, totally. They are our community, there is no difference between them and us.”

The atmosphere inside the mosque was solemn and yet there was an undercurrent of steely resolve, where people from all walks of life and faiths gathered, determined that the actions of one evil individual wouldn't speak for the majority of decent Australians.

New Zeland community address by Te Ame Tuwairua
New Zeland community address by Te Ame Tuwairua Leighton Smith

Islamic Society of CQ president Riaz Ahmed gave an impassioned speech offering his condolences and talking about the fears he had heard expressed within the Muslim community following the attack in New Zealand.

"Every tragedy has an opportunity to engage with one another, the wider communities, neighbours and to reach out to those who are afraid and rejoin their hearts with others,” he said.

Special Prayer
Verses of peace from Hafiz Syed Noor. Leighton Smith