by Heather McNab, Daily Mail
Sydney: As the memorial to the victims of the Sydney siege continues to grow, a Muslim bride has made a pilgrimage on her wedding day to lay flowers at Martin Place.
Adorned in a white wedding dress, which included a traditional white hijab and veil, newlywed Manal Kassem arrived at the memorial with her husband, Mahmod Homaisi, to place her wedding bouquet among the tens of thousands of other floral tributes in the square.
The 23-year-old bride had planned for her wedding photos to be taken in the city, but had been hesitant to continue after the tragic events of Tuesday morning which claimed the lives of three people.
‘She was going to cancel [the photoshoot] because she didn’t want to be judged…celebrating her wedding in a scarf while people were terrorised,’ said the couple’s wedding planner Dina Kheir.
‘But she made is a priority to visit the memorial site as the first pit stop,’ Ms Kheir said.
A witness said that as the couple approached, clad in their wedding gear, the crowd that had gathered to lay their own floral tributes stared in surprise.
When Ms Kassem, from Punchbowl, placed her bouquet of white roses held together with ribbon at the memorial, the crowd erupted in applause.
‘She did it out of respect for her country, that will one day be the country of her children and grandchildren,’ said Ms Kheir.