Hajj pilgrims
Pilgrims pray atop Mount Arafat, also known as Jabal al-Rahma (Mount of Mercy), southeast of the Saudi holy city of Mecca, during the climax of the Hajj pilgrimage, early on July 8, 2022. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Saudi Arabia has received a total of 60 pilgrims from New Zealand as guests of the King to perform Hajj, Asharq Al-Awsat reported.

The 60 pilgrims included people who were hurt or relatives of those killed in the tragic terrorist attacks in Christchurch that took place in 2019.

During the Hajj of August 2019, King Salman ordered the families of the victims and injured to be hosted. Accordingly, 200 pilgrims performed Hajj in 2019, taking advantage of the generous initiative and positive gesture. There were, however, some who were hospitalised with injuries or a few family members of the deceased who were not able to make the pilgrimage to Mecca.

According to Saudi ambassador to New Zealand Abdul Rahman Al Suhaibani, this is the last group of pilgrims from New Zealand to benefit from the King's initiative. “The list of the selected candidates for Hajj was prepared in coordination and cooperation between the embassy and the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.

Following the Christchurch terrorist attack on March 15, 2019, in which 51 people were killed and scores injured, King Salman ordered to host the families and wounded to perform Hajj in 2019. “The embassy coordinated with the Federation of Islamic Societies of New Zealand to facilitate 200 pilgrims’ trip. There were a number of wounded who couldn’t travel due to injuries or health-related issues”, he said.

The 28-year-old Brenton Harrison Tarrant, a white supremacist of Australian nationality, carried out the gruesome attacks by entering two mosques during Friday prayers. He began mass shooting at Al Noor Mosque and then at the Linwood Islamic Centre. While attempting to carry out his shooting rampage at a third mosque, the terrorist was arrested.

The pilgrims included Fareed Ahmed, who lost his wife. The assailant killed his wife while she tried to save him from the attack at Al Noor Mosque.