King Salman Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia has invited survivors of the Christchurch massacre and relatives of the victims to be his guests on a holy pilgrimage.
King Salman is offering to pay about £1m for the predominantly Muslim sufferers, who were caught up in the mass shooting in two Christchurch mosques earlier this year, so they can follow him to Mecca for hajj. The Saudi king is paying for their airfare, accommodation and travel costs. The group will also travel to holy sites in Medina.
The invite was extended after the Saudi ambassador to New Zealand, Abdulrahman Al Suhaibani, told the families that the Saudi king was horrified by the attacks at two mosques on 15 March and wanted to bring them peace.
Each year, the Saudi king invites several hundred people to perform the hajj as his own guests, often selecting those most touched by tragedy that year.
Mr Suhaibani said this is the first time the king has invited anyone from New Zealand on his annual program.
Recall that on March 15, Australian white supremacist Brenton Tarrant, 28, opened fire on Muslims during Friday prayers, killing 51.