Outrage at Muslim Group's 'Crass' Competition to Meet Victims of New Zealand Terror Attack

Imam Alabi Lateef Zirullah speaks during the Friday prayer at the Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand, on April 5. A Muslim group apologized for offering a competition winner a free trip to New Zealand to meet the victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings. Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images

A Muslim group has apologized for offering a competition winner a free trip to New Zealand to meet the victims of the Christchurch mosque attacks.

The Muslims of the World (MOTW), a social media page and nonprofit, posted on its Instagram page details of its competition, with the prospect of the winner visiting the Al Noor and Linwood mosques, where 50 people were killed on March 15.

The winner was to be accompanied by Khaled Beydoun, an Al Jazeera columnist and associate professor of law at the University of Detroit,Imam Suhaib Webb and MOTW founder Sajjad Shah, The New Zealand Herald reported.

But after just 10 hours, the competition was withdrawn following a barrage of complaints, although screen grabs of the offer continued to be widely circulated.

Maha Elmadani, whose father, Ali Elmadani, died in the attack, commented on the Instagram post that the trio were not welcome "to come here and look at us like some animals in a zoo. My dad died in that mosque and so did 49 of the most beautiful souls that walked this Earth. You guys are turning this horrific massacre into some f***ing excuse to vacation in NZ and you're doing it on the backs of the victims that died," she wrote.

Joseph Willits from the Council for Arab-British Understanding, also criticized the competition on Twitter, labeling it a "really disturbing act of voyeurism," and "incredibly crass and insensitive."

In the aftermath of the massacre, Beydoun, who lives in Detroit, shared dozens of photos and stories of the victims across his Twitter, Facebook and Instagram profiles, and he encouraged others to do the same, to preserve their legacy.

However, members of the New Zealand media accused him of using content and pictures without attribution, Stuff reported.

MOTW posted an apology on its Instagram account to its 300,000 followers saying that it offered the visit to New Zealand "in hopes of being agents of healing and community."

"However, our wording was insensitive and we take full ownership of it. We apologize for our offensive post and ask for your forgiveness, we are trying our best to bring goodness in this world and we did make a serious mistake."

Families of the victims saw the accused gunman Brenton Tarrant, 28, for the first time on Friday during his video link appearance at Christchurch High Court.

He faces 50 charges of murder and 39 charges of attempted murder for the attack and is remanded in custody until June 14, in order to have a mental health assessment.

Tofazzal Alam, who was in the Linwood Mosque during the attack, told Radio New Zealand it was hard to see the accused in the flesh. "He killed 50 people and he doesn't look like he's bothered. He doesn't have any emotionality. I didn't see any emotion on his face."