Sonny Bill Williams will attend Friday prayers in Christchurch after arriving in the grieving New Zealand South Island city on Thursday night in support of the Muslim community following last Friday’s terror attacks.
The deadly shootings at two Christchurch mosques claimed the lives of 50 people and Williams, a devout Muslim, has come to sympathise with people after taking a leave of absence from the Blues and missing his team’s weekend match against the Highlanders.
In an interview broadcast on TVNZ, Williams said after touching down at the local airport: “I’ll be heading to Friday prayers.
“It’s important to show a united front and get to the mosque and show that us as Muslims, we know that we’re valued New Zealanders.
“I’m just down here to show support – I don’t have all the answers but I’m definitely down here just to try and help the best way I can,” he continued, proud of the way his fellow New Zealanders have united in their support of the grief-stricken Muslim community.
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“It’s beautiful. We have to be gentle at the start because there are a lot of mixed emotions. You have just got to do what is best for the victims, but then moving forward I think something beautiful is going to happen.”
Williams has announced earlier in the week on social media that he had formed an alliance with the Muslims Around The World Project to raise funds for victims’ families.
I’ve partnered with MATW Project to raise funds for victims’ families from yesterday’s mass shooting @ Friday prayer. We are 1 community & we stand firm in supporting one another & those in need. Show your generosity by donating to https://t.co/akkqTRE0hY(Select emergency appeal) pic.twitter.com/GuoxwERN1p
The All Blacks centre, who has been linked with a switch back to rugby league following this year’s union World Cup in Japan, has been busy posting messages to his social channels in the wake of the terror attacks.
He sent his best wishes to victims who are still fighting for the lives in hospital following the shootings and acknowledged the leadership being shown in New Zealand by its prime minister Jacinda Ardern. He also also put up a picture with local people following his arrival in Christchurch.
The resilience of my brothers is amazing. We will all return to our maker one day ??
Alhumdulliah. Peace & blessings family pic.twitter.com/e2tfyZ2jGy
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