First burials for Christchurch terror attack victims

Christchurch's Memorial Park Cemetery has become the focal point of the tragedy as the families are finally able to start burying their loved ones.

Hundreds from the Muslim community turned out for the first funeral on Wednesday - for a father and son from Syria.

It came with a full-force turnout from Christchurch's Muslim community, and put Islamic custom on show.

The release of the first bodies meant the first funeral and the first chance to grieve.

Khalid Mustafa and his 16-year-old son Hamza were buried together, 10 months after they left Syria to come here for a better life.

It was the first chance for their son and brother to see their bodies since the shooting at the Mosque. The bodies were lifted out and carried into the funeral, called a Janaza.

Thirteen-year-old Zaid Mustafa was pushed to them in a wheelchair. He too was shot and survived. He was given a chance to speak, putting his courage and bravery on show.

"The son wanted to stand. He couldn't. He tried and couldn't. A wound in his leg couldn't allow him too," says fellow attendee Jamil El-Baiza.

As well as Zaid, his sister and their mother are left behind.

"She's devastated. She's not saying much. I went and hug her and she didn't say anything," says Gulshad Ali.

There is no sermon, no eulogy, no structure, just a quick prayer - "Allah Akbar".

It is then the entire community's responsibility to shoulder the body and take it to the grave.

There's no casket, just a body wrapped in cloth put in the earth. Each person throws three clumps of dirt. Zaid did it despite his wounds.

"We tried to not shake his hand, and tried to not lift his hand, and not touch his foot because they are still wounded, but he refused, he wanted to shake everybody's hand," El-Baiza says.

Once the dirt is thrown, the Janaza is over. No matter what the culture, the grief and the pain is just the same.