Christian’s post-New Zealand attack gesture for Muslim worshippers in Manchester goes viral

Christian man Andrew Graystone in the UK has won the hearts of people across the globe after his gesture of protecting Muslim worshippers at a Manchester mosque
Updated 17 March 2019
0

Christian’s post-New Zealand attack gesture for Muslim worshippers in Manchester goes viral

  • Following the tragic events, Graystone said he was determined to show his support for the Muslim community
  • The image shared by Twitter user Zia Salik went viral almost immediately

LONDON: A Christian man in the UK has won the hearts of people across the globe after his gesture of protecting Muslim worshippers at a Manchester mosque went viral in the wake of the New Zealand terror attacks.
Andrew Graystone told Manchester Evening News that he had been “horrified” to read the news of 50 people being killed by a white supremacist terrorist as they attended prayers at a mosque in the city of Christchurch last Friday.
Following the tragic events, Graystone said he was determined to show his support for the Muslim community in his home city of Manchester.
He was pictured outside a mosque in the Levenshulme area of the city, holding a sign which read: “You are my friends. I will keep watch while you pray.”

The image shared by Twitter user Zia Salik went viral almost immediately as details emerged of the attack in New Zealand.
Speaking to MEN, Graystone said: “I woke up on Friday morning and I heard the terrible news about the killings in the mosque in Christchurch.
“I began to think about how I would feel if I was a Muslim in Manchester going to Friday prayers, perhaps feeling afraid or angry, and what small thing I could do to make a difference.
“You can either meet these things with either fear or friendship — that’s the choice we have to make and in the end friendship wins.”
Explaining why he made the sign, he told the newspaper: “Levenshulme is a very multicultural community with churches, mosques and even a Jain temple all very close together.
“The relationships are generally really good but something like the New Zealand incident can test them.
“Something I could offer to people in Manchester was to literally watch their backs or at least stand outside with a smiling face at the doors of the mosque as they arrive.
“You could see people wondering what I was doing at first. Perhaps they thought I was some sort of protester with a placard.
“But as they saw the message they smiled and after prayers they came out to thank me. People said they were glad to be supported.
“I belong to a church and so we have a lot in common,” he added.

 


France holds first ‘Armenia genocide’ remembrance day

Updated 24 April 2019
0

France holds first ‘Armenia genocide’ remembrance day

  • France was the first major European country to recognize the massacres as genocide in 2001
  • Erdogan has accused France of being responsable for the genocide in Rwanda in 1994

PARIS: France held its first “national day of commemoration of the Armenian genocide” on Wednesday, provoking an angry reaction from Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Troops from the Ottoman Empire — which preceded modern-day Turkey — were responsible for massacres and forced deportations of Armenians from 1915, but Turkey has always denied that the killings amounted to genocide.
France was the first major European country to recognize the massacres as genocide in 2001 and Macron announced the national day of remembrance in February this year, saying that his country “knows how to look history in the face.”
That drew a furious response from Erdogan at the time — he called Macron a “political novice” — and the Turkish leader denounced the commemoration day again on Wednesday in a televised speech.
“If we look at those trying to give lessons on human rights or democracy to Turkey on the Armenian question and the fight against terrorism, we see that they all have a bloody past,” he said.
Relations between France and Turkey are tense, particularly due to differences over the future of Syria and the role of Kurdish fighters there, but the two countries are allies in NATO and economic partners.
Erdogan has accused France of being responsable for the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, where the current government accuses Paris of being complicit in the atrocities committed by the majority Hutu community on minority Tutsis.
France has always denied the allegations and Macron announced the creation of a panel of historians and researchers earlier this month which will be tasked with investigating France’s role.
The 41-year-old French leader also announced an annual day of commemoration for the Rwanda genocide in which an estimated 800,000 people are thought to have died.
Armenians commemorate the massacres of their people on April 24 — the day in 1915 when thousands of Armenian intellectuals suspected of harboring nationalist sentiment and being hostile to Ottoman rule were rounded up.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is to lead the commemorations in France on Wednesday by giving a speech and laying flowers at a Monument for the Armenian Genocide erected on the northern bank of the river Seine in April 2003.
“We should find a way to tell them we are not blaming Turkey for that (the massacres). We are blaming the Turkish government in 1915,” French MP Jacques Marilossian, a member of Macron’s Republic on the Move party, told the France 24 channel.
When World War I broke out in 1914, Armenia — which for most of its history has been occupied by foreign powers — was divided between the Ottoman and Russian Empires.
Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their mostly Christian kin were killed between 1915 and 1917 by Turkish forces, and have long sought international recognition that this was genocide.