A look inside Deans Ave as it reopens its doors for prayer

News 27/03/2019

The Deans Avenue Mosque has reopened for prayer. Newshub was allowed inside to talk to the returning worshippers.

For Muslims like Mohammad Ismail, returning to the mosque is returning to a place of trauma.

"Even today when I sit down I can hear the sound of the gun in my ears you know," he said.

On that Friday, March 15, he and others were on their knees facing Mecca, their backs turned to the gunman when he walked in.

"We heard this sound, like a light cracking," Ismail explained.

The main room was full of faithful men, and another adjacent room was filled with women and children.

"All I could see was the smoke and the three gunshots and the light crackling," said Ismail.

"When you are lying, you hear these gunshots, the smell of gunpowder. I can feel the winds - the bullets going over my head."

Ismail was caught in a stampede of people trying to get out of the mosque.

"There I was, exactly this place. Lying down, and people were just walking on me."

He was covered in bodies for two minutes, then he managed to free himself, climbing a tree to get away from everything.

Ismail was lucky, but so many weren't.

"My friend was shot on [his] side and [he's] dead."

On Tuesday night, each of the hundreds of bullet holes was covered up in the mosque.

"You know, it is going to be there for a long time. Nobody can ever take this away from us," Ismail said.

The Deans Avenue Mosque proves it's unbreakable even in the face of tragedy.