March 23, 2019 2:32 am
Updated: March 23, 2019 2:33 am

Burj Khalifa displays Jacinda Ardern’s face as New Zealand mourns Christchurch shooting victims

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern helped lead Friday's prayer service at Hagley Park in Christchurch, where just across the street a gunman opened fire on the first of two mosques.

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The world’s tallest building stretched into the sky with the solemn face of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Friday, the same day that a call to prayer was heard across her country as people gathered to mourn the 50 killed in last week’s mosque shootings in Christchurch.

The image on the Burj Khalifa in Dubai showed Ardern, wearing a headscarf, hugging a woman beneath the word “peace” — the photo had been snapped by Hagen Hopkins, a photographer from the New Zealand capital of Wellington, and it has circulated around the world as the prime minister has drawn global praise for her response to the shootings.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, tweeted a photo of the Burj Khalifa on Friday.

“Thank you PM Jacinda Ardern and New Zealand for your sincere empathy and support that has won the respect of 1.5 billion Muslims after the terrorist attack that shook the Muslim community around the world,” he tweeted.

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The image emerged on the same day that Ardern joined as many as 20,000 people at Hagley Park, across from the Al Noor mosque, where a majority of victims in the Christchurch shootings were killed.

The Muslim call to prayer was sounded around the country as they gathered.

“New Zealand mourns with you. We are one,” she said, before two minutes of silence.

READ MORE: ‘New Zealand mourns with you. We are one,’ PM tells Christchurch Muslims near shooting site

“To the families of the victims, your loved ones did not die in vain,” Imam Gamal Fouda of the Al Noor mosque said during the service.

“Their blood has watered the seeds of hope.”

The prayers happened one day after Ardern announced that New Zealand would ban sales of “military-style” semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Every semi-automatic weapon used in the Christchurch attack will be banned, she said, and that will include any shotguns to which a detachable magazine with over five rounds can be affixed.

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Smaller guns won’t be banned, however.

That includes semi-automatic .22-caliber guns that can hold up to 10 rounds.

Semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns that can hold five rounds in non-detachable magazines also won’t be banned.

  • With files from Reuters

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