Farah-Talal750 Farah Talal is pictured at a hotel, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Makkah. AFP
"I want the world to know who Atta Elayyan was," said 27-year-old Farah Talal, dressed in a green djellaba robe and an elegant white scarf during her visit to Islam's holiest city.
Her husband Atta was among 51 people killed when a white supremacist attacked worshippers during Friday prayers in the quiet New Zealand town, sparking global revulsion.
Farah Talal is pictured at a hotel, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Makkah. AFP
"He was a wonderful person, generous, I want to pay tribute to him," murmured the young woman of Jordanian-origin who, along with 200 others affected by the massacre, was invited to the Hajj by Saudi's King Salman Bin Abdulaziz.
Authorities have said they hope to "ease their suffering" as part of "the kingdom's efforts in response to terrorism".Heroes’ welcome
The survivors and relatives of victims were given a heroes' welcome as they arrived on Aug.2.
They were also greeted by the flashes of press cameras.
The Hajj, the high point of the Islamic calendar, began on Friday.
Drawing in more than two million Muslims from around the world, it will last five days.
Atta Elayyan, of Palestinian-origin, ran an app development company and played goalkeeper for New Zealand's national futsal side. He left behind a two-year-old daughter.
"He gave us the strength to carry on every day. He is a martyr, just like all the other victims of the carnage," said Talal of her husband in a vast hotel complex reserved for guests of the Saudi royal family.
'Doing Hajj for my father'
Amir Mohamed Khan, 14, lost his father Mohammed Imran Khan, a 47-year-old restaurateur originally from India, on March 15 in New Zealand's worst mass killing in modern times.
Amir Mohamed Khan (R) and Chouaib Milne are pictured at a hotel on Thursday, prior to the start of the Hajj pilgrimage. AFP
"I was in school on March 15," said Khan, his green eyes glistening as he wore a traditional salwar kameez. "I was very shocked, I didn't have any reactions... I couldn't believe it... I loved him so much.
"It will be very hard without him, but I'm thankful to be in Makkah today. I'm doing Hajj for my father, to pray for him."
'Pray for my brother'
His friend Chouaib Milne, 16, lost his brother Sayyad Milne — two years his junior — when he was killed while praying in Christchurch's Al Noor Mosque, one of the two places of worship targeted.
"I was supposed to be at Friday prayers with my brother, but I was on a school trip," he said, wearing a white salwar kameez, along with a red and white checkered headscarf.
"When I'm at the Kaaba," the cubic structure in the Grand Mosque that is Islam's holiest site and towards which all Muslims pray, "I will pray for my brother and do Hajj for my brother", Milne added.
Afghan Taj Mohammad Kamran, 47, recounted how the attacker "shot me in my leg (and) after (that) shot one of my friends — he was lost."
Kamran, his head wrapped in a turban, was shot three times in total and now walks with crutches.
"Before I had too much depression. Now I come here, I relax -- all Muslims want hajj".
New Zealand opened a gun buyback scheme on Thursday aimed at ridding the country of semi-automatic weapons similar to those used in the Christchurch mosque attacks that killed 51 Muslim worshippers.
Judge orders psychiatric test for Christchurch shooting suspect
A lone gunman used a semi-automatic gun to kill worshippers gathered for Friday prayers at two mosques in the city of Christchurch on March 15 last year in New Zealand's worst peace-time shooting.
Outside the Al Noor mosque, dozens of leather-clad bikers from the Tu Tangata club performed a traditional Maori haka. They were welcomed by mosque imam Gamal Fouda, who said people of all beliefs and cultures were stopping to pay their respects, and they were all united as New Zealanders.
It is believed that the fire brigade arrived at the scene within 6 minutes after the operations room was alerted about a fire in the mall.
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