Langars, Relief Camps and Funeral Sewa: How Sikh Community in New Zealand Won Hearts After Christchurch Attack
Several Sikh NGOs and volunteer organisations have offered their services and support to the victims of the March 15 attack and their families.
Displays of communal harmony have been winning hearts on social media ever since the dastardly terror attack in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
After the Islamophobic and racist attack, religious communities the world over have taken to expressing solidarity and support for the victims and their families. And making waves in New Zealand is the country's Sikh community that has volunteered to oversee the funerals proceedings of the 50 people killed in the attack.
Guru Nanak's Free Kitchen Auckland, an NGO in New Zealand, put up a post on Facebook on Friday following the attack, volunteering their services to assist the families in Christchurch that lost their loved ones.
"We have been asked and informed by one of the Muslim representative in Akld that the Muslim community in Christchurch need people for 'sewa'...", the group's post read. It added that help was needed with tasks like washing the victims' bodies, transporting the bodies and families to the cemeteries and funeral homes, digging graves and organising ;langar' (free meals) for people attending the funeral, apart from other miscellaneous tasks.
"We have already spoken to Christchurch gurughar who are ready to help as best as they can for the Christchurch Muslim community. Meanwhile if anybody is keen or can knows people in Christchurch who can help with sewa ,it would be really appreciated," the post further added.
On Sunday, they shared updates of the work they had been doing in Christchurch.
"Our involvement so far been to coordinate a collaborative response with other agencies and community groups, as an intermediary with a simple goal of selfless service. Our main areas of focus have been:
- Rallying volunteers that are now awaiting further instructions to support with funeral arrangements in Christchurch.
- Organising contacts to be ready to prepare and deliver food and any other provisions required.
- Connecting members of the Muslim community flying into Christchurch with our contacts to provide free accomodation, meals and a place of worship," the NGO wrote on Facebook.
GNFK is not the only Sikh organisation that offered up its services in aid of the victims' families. The Sikh Sangat NZ Trust, a group of volunteers from Auckland, that set up a free of cost camp in Christchurch and offering a variety of services such as food, reinforcements, medical aid, transportation and even blood donations.
Social media was full of praise and appreciation for the efforts made by the community and expressed it vehemently on social media.
#Sikh community in New Zealand have come out to help the victims of #ChristchurchMosqueAttack. Guru Nanak Community Kitchen, an Auckland based NGO, came forward to volunteer help transportation of families to the cemetery & organise langar for those attending funerals. pic.twitter.com/Upz0CM9F7k— Raminder (@ramindersays) March 16, 2019
The New Zealand Sikh Community's response to the Christchurch massacre is moving me to tears. pic.twitter.com/Y59HQYAanP— Simran Jeet Singh (@SikhProf) March 15, 2019
#eggboy I have been in New Zealand from 2008 to 2009 Stayed at Manureva, Auckland for one year never found any discrimination.Also done night shifts at Fonterra.Always felt Safe. In 5km Range there are 15 Sikh Gurdwaras where I have had food. That is what brotherhood is.— BARKAT ALI (@barkatalitrust) March 17, 2019
Jews closed synagogues on their sacred Shabbath day to stand in solidarity with victims of New Zealand Terror Attack. Christians showed support by offering flowers & prayers.Atheists held placards & banners in solidarity. Sikhs provided free langars & helped transport dead bodies— Ejaz Iqbal (Iqbal Jr.) (@EjazIqbal20) March 17, 2019
#SikhsinNewZealand #ChristChurchMassacreSikhs in New Zealand put the best foot forward to help the victim's family! After the terrorist attack on two mosques in central Christchurch, New Zealand, every citizen is trying to puthttps://t.co/pq7AFj9ikd pic.twitter.com/OtGVsYsDiE— Kalgidhar Trust (@BaruSahibTKS) March 18, 2019
Following the racist attack, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the international communiy to come forward in solidarity of the victims as well as Islam. In times of hate, such a response is heartening.
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