Saudi king hosts 200 from Christchurch shootings for Haj


Aya Al-Umari says she feels like her brother will be accompanying her and will constantly be in her prayers when she travels to Makkah next month to take part in the annual Haj pilgrimage.

Al-Umari is one of 200 relatives and survivors from the Christchurch mosque shootings who are travelling to Saudi Arabia as guests of King Salman.

The Saudi ambassador to New Zealand on Friday said farewell to the pilgrims at the Al Noor mosque, one of two mosques where a gunman killed 51 people in March.

Al-Umari’s 35-year-old brother Hussein was among those killed.

She said it’s an honour that King Salman is sponsoring the trips, a fact reinforced in her visa documents stating she’s travelling as a guest of the custodian of the two holy mosques.