Christchurch shootings: 'You can respond with fear or friendship'

  • Published
Andrew Graystone holding placard saying: "You are my friends. I will keep watch while you pray."Image source, Zia Salik
Image caption,
An image of Andrew Graystone outside a Manchester mosque was widely shared

A man who stood outside a Manchester mosque after the shooting of 50 people at mosques in New Zealand said he wanted to "respond with friendship".

Andrew Graystone was pictured with a placard saying: "You are my friends. I will keep watch while you pray."

He said Muslims at a Levenshulme mosque "beamed" when they saw his act.

"There are two ways you can respond to an attack like this - you can respond with fear or you can respond with friendship," he said.

Images of similar acts at mosques in the Midlands and North East of England have also gone viral.

This Twitter post cannot be displayed in your browser. Please enable Javascript or try a different browser.View original content on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.
Skip twitter post by Firdaus Nazeri

Allow Twitter content?

This article contains content provided by Twitter. We ask for your permission before anything is loaded, as they may be using cookies and other technologies. You may want to read Twitter’s cookie policy, external and privacy policy, external before accepting. To view this content choose ‘accept and continue’.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.
End of twitter post by Firdaus Nazeri

It follows the shootings of people attending two mosques in Christchurch.

Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian, has been charged following the attacks.

'Beamed and smiled'

Mr Graystone said 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."

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Christians from Riverside Church gave flowers to Muslims at Birmingham Central Mosque

Mr Graystone, who runs a Christian charity and led London 2012's multi-faith chaplaincy team, said he was surprised the image of him was widely praised on social media, including by Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.

This Twitter post cannot be displayed in your browser. Please enable Javascript or try a different browser.View original content on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.
Skip twitter post 2 by Tanni Grey-Thompson

Allow Twitter content?

This article contains content provided by Twitter. We ask for your permission before anything is loaded, as they may be using cookies and other technologies. You may want to read Twitter’s cookie policy, external and privacy policy, external before accepting. To view this content choose ‘accept and continue’.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.
End of twitter post 2 by Tanni Grey-Thompson

"I hadn't intended for anybody other than the people at Medina Mosque to know about this," Mr Graystone said.

"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."