TODAY |

Christchurch terrorist attack survivors ecstatic at Saudi king's offer to fly them to Mecca

The Saudi king is flying 200 people affected by the Christchurch terrorist attack to the holy Islamic city of Mecca, allowing them to perform a pilgrimage which is of great importance to Muslims.

The journey, known as the Hajj, is one of the ultimate goals of the Mulsim faith and millions of worshippers flock into the city every year for the ceremony.

The offer's been made to survivors and those who lost loved ones, like Farah Talal, who lost her husband Atta Elayyan in the attack.

It’s a bittersweet moment as the couple had planned to travel together. She now plans to head there with her late husband’s family in what will be an emotional journey.

“It's going to be a very spiritual and hopefully healing experience, which we all, I think, need,” she says.

“Because his parents are performing Hajj on his behalf, because they've already done it before, and they're going to gift it to him, I feel in a way he's going to be around us.”

Survivors like Temel Atacocugu, who was shot nine times in the attack, have also been invited and are excited to take their turn at the holy pilgrimage.

“I'm so happy and I'm so excited to do the Hajj," he says. "It is really important for me at the moment because, after the 15th of March, I feel I become born again. This is a gift from Allah to me."

The Saudi Press Agency says the offer is part of the king's efforts to "confront and defeat terrorism”. He also promises the families will have an easy and comfortable journey.

Many of the families are planning to travel together in what they say will be the pilgrimage of a lifetime.

Your playlist will load after this ad

Those who take King Salman up on the offer will travel to Islam’s holiest city for the hajj, an annual pilgrimage. Source: 1 NEWS