Andrew Graystone responded to the Christchurch massacre with a message of solidarity: ‘I will keep watch while you pray’
Vigils have been held across the world and tributes have been paid to the victims of the terrorist attack which left 50 people dead in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday.
The most important faces to remember from the attack – Christchurch mosque shooting: The faces of the victims, via @nzherald https://t.co/wkUQzsxaVL
— Safya Khan-Ruf (@safyark) March 16, 2019
Following the shootings, which took place at two mosques in New Zealand, Andrew Graystone from Levenshulme posted a Tweet encouraging Christians to gather outside their local mosques to ‘stand guard’ over their Muslim friends while they prayed.
He then stood outside the Madina mosque in Levenshulme with a cardboard sign that read: “You are my friends. I will keep watch while you pray.”
Can I suggest that Christians and others who are available gather outside their local mosque during Friday prayers today (about 12-1) to stand guard over our Muslim friends while they pray?
— Andrew Graystone (@AndrewGraystone) March 15, 2019
A photo of Mr Graystone and his sign quickly went viral, along with pictures of similar acts at mosques in the Midlands and the North East.
What happen in Christchurch NZ is really 💔, This is what happen to Sunderland UK mosque today during Juma’ prayer. Thank you my friend. #Pray4Christchurch pic.twitter.com/aYAqLIsqy2
— Firdaus Nazeri (@firdausnazeri93) March 15, 2019
Mr Graystone told the BBC that he chose to stand outside the Medina Mosque on Friday because he ‘wanted to make sure that people know we can respond with friendship’.
“As people walked up, you could see in their eyes that they were looking at somebody standing outside their mosque, thinking ‘Oh no, is this some kind of protest or whatever’.
“And then when they saw the message saying ‘You are my friend’, their faces broke and they beamed and smiled.
“I hadn’t intended for anybody other than the people at Medina Mosque to know about this, but I guess there are little things that lots of people can do to just express friendship rather than fear with Muslim friends, and neighbours and colleagues – so I just took one little action.”
Also published on Medium.