Christchurch Terror Attacks: Sonny Bill Williams steps up to help Muslim community

He's New Zealand's best known Muslim, and today Sonny Bill Williams' return to Christchurch was deeply personal. 

"My message is about unity, it's about peace, it's about love, the core essence of what Islam is, and my message is about how we move forward as a people. Let's lead the way here," he said.

Having spent time in Christchurch with the Crusaders in 2011, only a few years after converting to Islam, he was a regular at the Al Noor Mosque where a week ago 42 people were killed.

"Me and my brother used to attend the mosque most Fridays, it's very sad, it's very close to home," he told Newshub.

"To the victims of those that were tragically taken away from us last Friday, my thoughts and my condolences are with them,"

The 33-year-old was given time off from the Blues this week to show solidarity. 

He says he wants help the best he can.

"After the first emotional hit came, then my thoughts were 'how can I be practical about this situation?'"

"I am an All Black and I play for the Blues, but I am also a Muslim. Although I'm naturally a shy person I knew I had to be vulnerable and step up and be a leader in this space" Williams told Newshub.

He's already been involved in fund raising $200,000 to help victims' families. 

"As a Muslim, if I can tick off four things while I'm down here, it's praying in the Friday congregation prayer, go to a burial, visit the sick and give to the less fortunate, then I know it's a good trip, that's what I am planning to do,"

He says the tragedy has been humbling.

"I just want to say thank you from my heart because it's been humbling, it's obviously such a tragic event but the way people have reached out has shown me that they care,"

"Now is the time to move forward, and what does that look like? It looks like talking about racism and hatred."

A normally private prayer, today, made public for the world to see.