New Zealand's Most Feared Biker Gangs Vow To Protect Muslims During Their Friday Prayers
While their appearances can be frightening to some, members of New Zealand's biker gangs prove that they have within them unlimited warm compassion.
Following the terror attack at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, members of New Zealand's most feared biker gangs like The Mongrel Mob, King Cobra and The Black Power have promised to protect their local Muslim communities across the country
On Friday, 22 March, members of the Mongrel Mob stood guard outside Jamia Masjid mosque in Hamilton after the Waikato Mongrel Mob president, Sonny Fatu, heard that members of the Muslim community were now afraid of attending their Friday prayers.
"We will support and assist our Muslim brothers and sisters for however long they need us," the Mongrel Mob president 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 apart of the safety net for them to allow them to pray in peace without fear.
"Of course, we would do that, there was no question about that and we will be dressed appropriately," added Fatu, as reported by Stuff.
Mr Sonny Fatu, who leads the largest Mongrel Mob chapter in New Zealand, added that it would be no problem for them to give the Muslim community the chance to offer their Friday prayers in peace
"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 told Stuff.
In response, Dr Asad Mohsin, head of the Waikato Muslim Association, was reported by Stuff saying that he appreciated the support received from "different sections of society, different interests and dispositions."
"It all gives us the strength to overcome the grief we are undergoing.
"We would welcome them to come into the mosque and pray with us. They are part of us as we are part of them," Mohsin said, as reported by Stuff.
Meanwhile, the Mongrel Mob Waikato president also said that it was a time to unite, adding that Islam was often misrepresented
"Our differences are the glue that holds 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 re-strategise the rest of our journey. A Karanga (call) as been sent out, vibrating across the universe, conjuring all leadership to come forward and unite our people," Stuff quoted Mr Sonny Fatu as saying.
Other biker gangs — like the King Cobra and the Black Power —
have also vowed to similarly protect their own Muslim communities and have paid their respect to senior members of mosques
While traditionally adversaries, members of rival gangs such as the Mongrel Mob, Black Power and Bandidos street gangs gathered in unity to slap their thighs, thump their chests and stick out their tongues in a traditional Maori Haka to commemorate the victims
While commemorating the victims of the terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand's multicultural diaspora has made sure that they stay connected with their homeland.
Haka has reverberated not just around Christchurch, but across the country.
President of the Bandidos motorcycle gang, while speaking after performing Haka, said that they were paying respect for the fallen
"We came here out of respect for the fallen, and that's why we did the Haka, it's a sign of respect. It was a Ngai Tahu Haka because that's the tribe around here. It's used for pretty much all occasions," Hamish Hiroki, president of the Bandidos told Reuters.
Although, Haka has been misconstrued as a "war dance" or challenge, in Maori culture, however, Haka means to simply dance or perform, and different Haka are composed by different tribes for various uses and occasions.
According to Haka expert Te Kahuata Maxwell, those being performed over the past week in and around New Zealand were a response to the trauma the community felt.
While their appearances can be frightening to some, these biker gangs prove they have within them unlimited warm compassion
Coming together in the wake of a national crisis, these people are showing that unity during dark times is truly one of the most beautiful things we humans are capable of.