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Threats over Muslim prayer at Anzac service

Plans to include a Muslim prayer in a Porirua Anzac Day service have been abandoned after the organisers received violent threats from veterans and members of the public.

a hand over ANZAC
poppies placed on the tomb of the unknown soldier, with a
soldier visible behind

Commemorations in Wellington at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Simon Strombom - who is organising the Titahi Bay service - wanted to include the prayer to acknowledge those killed in the Christchurch terror attacks.

Following the massacre, members of the RSA removed rifle gunfire from its planned dawn and civic services and agreed to include a one minute Muslim prayer at the end of the civic service.

But Mr Strombom said the decision to drop the prayer was made following a meeting with police and Muslim leaders this afternoon.

Major Strombom said Muslim leaders have agreed to attend the service but on police advice would no longer recite a one-minute prayer at the end.

"Given this, we can't guarantee the security of some people talking ... we'll be having a returned serviceman or the mayor speaking."

Major Strombom said the service would, however, acknowledge those killed in the shootings.

Earlier, Major Strombom said members of the RSA had received appalling messages online from those opposing the move.

"I now am getting quite angry about some of the people and some of the ignorance. I mean, I don't think New Zealand lost its innocence, it's exposed some ignorance of our society."

RSA national communication manager Shane Wratt said Titahi Bay was the only RSA to include a prayer in its service.

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