'This is going to make us stronger': Muslims stand together in the face of fear

Muslims around the country are refusing to give into the fear incited by the terrorist attack.

The advice from police was for mosques to remain closed today but that didn't stopped Muslims coming together in prayer.

Thousands of people attended a vigil in Aotea Square in Auckland this afternoon.  Peace in the face of hatred… courage in the face of fear.

"You sense saddness, numbness, but not fear, people aren't scared, because they're seeing this attack for what it is.  They know the perpetrator wants to sow fear, and I think people realise it's important not to buy into that," said Zain Ali, Professional teaching Fellow of Islam at Auckland University.

In Wellington, Kilbirnie Mosque was closed and under armed police guard as a safety precaution.

But instead of division, there was an outpouring of unity.

"People want to divide us as New Zealanders, but this is going to make us stronger and keep us stronger as a community and as a country," said Muhammed Ali.

Actor Sam Neill was among those laying flowers and messages of respect at the Al-Masjid Al Jamie Mosque in Ponsonby.

"My heart goes out to all those people in Christchurch who are affected by this, that this should happen to a beloved section of our community is beyond belief," said Mr Neill.

"Nobody can comprehend that's going to happen in our home," said Firoz Patel from the Ponsonby Mosque, "but the support we're getting from the Prime Minister, the Government, all the authorities, saying we are New Zealanders we are not migrants but we are Kiwis, that acceptance is the best.

The shooting took place during busy Friday afternoon prayers.  In an emotional message, viewed by millions, prominent Muslim and host of The Project in Australia, Waleed Aly, says people will not hide away.

"I'm gutted and I'm scared and I feel overcome with utter hopelessness," said Mr Aly, "It was slaughter by appointment, and it's scary because like millions of other Muslims I'm going to keep attending those appointments."

Once the prayers are over, the focus will turn to other questions like how it happened and how it can be prevented from happening again.