WORSHIPPERS at Mayfield's Sultan Fatih mosque have been urged not to lose hope, following what their leaders have described as a long and challenging week since the Christchurch shootings.
Sheikh Mohamed Hamed said the attack had not shaken the faith of the more than 150 men and women who gathered at the mosque for Friday prayers, which he said was on par with most other weeks.
The only difference was the arrival of more flowers, regular police patrols and the presence of Newcastle City District Commander, Superintendent Brett Greentree.
"I thank the whole community of Newcastle for supporting us and showing solidarity since last Friday afternoon," Sheikh Hamed said in his sermon.
"It was really appreciated to feel the warmth, deep support and solidarity from the local police, politicians, councillors, religious leaders, the community, our neighbours and people of goodwill who visited us during every hour of the day and night."
Sheikh Hamed prayed for "patience and tranquillity" for the families of the 50 dead.
He urged worshippers not to lose their hope and to continue to work together to prevent violence.
"Whatever happens, don't lose your hope," he said.
"Carry hope in your hearts and minds.
"Don't feel this disaster is the end of life. Life continues. We learn from every situation.
"We are one body. We care about each other, we co-operate together to stop any kind of violence, any terrorist attacks, any hate crimes.
"We can make it go away if we stand together to stop any bad decisions.
"We support peace and good values across all of humanity."
President of the Islamic Centre of Newcastle - which includes the mosque - Yunus Kara said it felt longer than a week since the attack, which "has had an impact on all Muslims".
But he said "overwhelming" community support had showed that love had triumphed over hate.
Centre secretary Forugh Dorani said community education about Islam was vital.
"All these kinds of atrocities happen because we live in silos in the dark.
"A lot of people fear what they don't know or understand.
"We need to turn on the light switch so they see there's nothing to fear."
Superintendent Greentree said he attended "not in a police protection capacity", but as a community member and representing NSW Police in support of the Muslim community.
He said while he didn't anticipate problems in Newcastle and the terrorism threat level had not changed, police had "stepped up" patrols at and around the Mayfield and Wallsend mosques, as well as engagement through visits.
He said this would continue for the next few weeks, particularly on Fridays.
"We're reassuring all sectors of the community that we're here and doing our best to make sure people feel safe."