Non-Muslims 'stand guard' outside Banbury mosque during prayers after Christchurch attacks

A group of non-Muslims showed solidarity with Muslims in Banbury by 'standing guard' outside the mosque during Friday prayers today (March 22).

The handful of people sat outside the Merton Street mosque a week after 50 people were killed and dozens more were injured in terror attacks at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Merton Street mosque chairman Abu Hassan Hanif said: “Extremists aims are to divide our communities, and to spread hatred, fear and division among our communities.

“But these beautiful people, they showed we will not be divided, they sent out a strong message of our community's rejection of hatred and division.

“We are truly humbled by this beautiful action, our promise to our community is our doors are open for every one of you in your time of need.

It will be a privilege to help and serve you God willing. From the bottom our hearts thank you.”

People 'stand guard' outside Banbury Madni Masjid during Friday prayers. Photo: Salman Younas

People 'stand guard' outside Banbury Madni Masjid during Friday prayers. Photo: Salman Younas

Salman Younas wrote on Twitter: "So wonderful to see how much solidarity our non-Muslim friends, neighbors, colleagues, etc. have shown the Muslim community after the horrible events in NZ.

"Today they sat outside the doors of our mosque in #Banbury while we performed Friday prayer. God bless."

Cllr Cassi Perry arranged the event, asking people to join her and others on Facebook group Banburyshire Info.

She wrote afterwards: "Thank you everyone who came today to show solidarity and thank you to Merton Road mosque for their wonderful hospitality. We are all stronger together."

Muslims with their volunteer protectors outside the mosque. Ohio: Yasmin Kaduji

Muslims with their volunteer protectors outside the mosque. Ohio: Yasmin Kaduji

Khteeja Gul responded: "thank you to you and all the members of public that came today to show solidarity, we all was touched by the love shown."

Mr Hassan Hanif condemned the terrorist shootings in New Zealand, saying more needs to be done about 'ever-increasing' Islamophobia.