Linwood Mosque in Christchurch has today been demolished, more than four years after the terrorist attack saw seven people fatally shot.
Families and first responders gathered at the masjid on Linwood Ave to remember those who died on March 15, 2019 as the house of worship was pulled down.
“There’s been a lot of people come and salvage things out of it which has left it in a very unsafe condition,” Right Hire’s Craig Hemopo said.
A multimillion-dollar redevelopment – with funding from the Global Civilisation Centre Trust in the United Arab Emirates – will see schools, retail shops, a gym and a new space for prayer take its place.
Linwood Islamic Trust’s Said Mostafa said while the original Linwood Islamic Centre could accommodate just 100 worshippers, the new masjid will be able to hold more than 600.
Survivor Sheikh Ashad Ali was among those to witness the mosque being demolished.
“The God saved me, but never saved my 51 brothers and sisters,” he said.
Ali said he doesn’t want to forget those who died, but is looking forward to the new mosque bringing renewed hope after years of waiting.
“Today is the start of the day.”
The doors to the new mosque are not expected to open for another two years.
“We’re trying to find the right name – something to remind us all of those beautiful souls we lost,” Mostafa said.