World

Memories of the NZ mosque attack victims

By AAP Newswire

An attack on a New Zealand mosque took the lives of 50 worshippers on Friday and left dozens more wounded when a white supremacist opened fire and live-streamed the shootings. Here are the stories of some of those killed.

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HUSNA AHMED

Farid Ahmed refuses to turn his back on his adopted home, despite losing his 45-year-old wife, Husna Ahmed, in the Al Noor mosque attack. They had split up to go to the bathroom when it happened.

The gunman livestreamed the massacre on the internet, and Ahmed later saw a video of his wife being shot. A police officer confirmed she died.

Despite the horror, Ahmed - originally from Bangladesh - still considers New Zealand a great country.

"I believe that some people, purposely, they are trying to break down the harmony we have in New Zealand with the diversity," he said. "But they are not going to win. They are not going to win. We will be harmonious."

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SYED AREEB AHMED

Ahmed had recently moved from his house in Karachi, Pakistan, for a job in New Zealand to help support his family back home. On Saturday, Pakistan's foreign ministry informed his family that Ahmed was among those killed.

One of his uncles, Muhammad Muzaffar Khan, described him as deeply religious, praying five times a day. But education was always his first priority, Khan said.

"He had done charted accountancy from Pakistan. He was the only son to his parents. He had only one younger sister ... He had only started his career, but the enemies took his life."

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FARHAJ AHSAN, 30

The software engineer moved to New Zealand six years ago from the city of Hyderabad in India, where his parents still live, according to the Mumbai Mirror.

"We received the disturbing news," Ahsan's father, Mohammed Sayeeduddin told the newspaper Saturday. Friends and family had been trying to reach Ahsan since the attack.

Ahsan was married and had a 3-year-old daughter and infant son.

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ABDULLAHI DIRIE, 4

Four of Adan Ibrahin Dirie's five children managed to escape Friday's attacks, but the youngest, Abdullahi, was killed, his uncle, Abdulrahman Hashi, 60, a preacher at Dar Al Hijrah Mosque in Minneapolis, told the New Zealand Herald.

Dirie also suffered gunshot wounds and was hospitalised. The family fled Somalia in the mid-1990s as refugees and resettled in New Zealand.

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ALI ELMADANI

Elmadani and his wife immigrated from the United Arab Emirates in 1998. The retired Christchurch engineer always told his children to be strong and patient, so that's what they are trying to do after the tragedy, his daughter, Maha Elmadani, told Stuff.

"He considered New Zealand home and never thought something like this would happen here," she said.

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MUCAD IBRAHIM, 3

Mucad Ibrahim was lost in the melee when the firing started at the Al Noor mosque as his older brother Abdi fled for his life and his father pretended to be dead after being shot.

The New Zealand Herald reported that the family searched in vain for the toddler at Christchurch hospital and later posted a photograph of Mucad, smiling with Abdi with the caption: "Verily we belong to God and to Him we shall return. Will miss you dearly brother".

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SAYYAD MILNE, 14

Milne was described as a good-natured, kind teenager. The high school student was at the Al Noor mosque for Friday prayers when the attack started, his half-sister, Brydie Henry, told the Stuff media outlet.

Sayyad was last seen "lying on the floor of the bloody mosque, bleeding from his lower body," she said her father told her.

Sayyad's mother, Noraini, was also in the mosque and managed to escape, Henry said. The teenager has two other siblings, 15-year-old twins Shuayb and Cahaya.

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JUNAID MORTARA, 35

Javed Dadabhai is mourning for his gentle cousin, 35-year-old Junaid Mortara, believed to have died in the first mosque attack.

His cousin was the breadwinner of the family, supporting his mother, his wife and their three children, ages 1 to 5. Mortara had inherited his father's convenience store, which was covered in flowers on Saturday.

Mortara was an avid cricket fan, and would always send a sparring text with relatives over cricket matches when Canterbury faced Auckland.

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HAJI DAOUD NABI, 71

Nabi moved his family to New Zealand in 1979 to escape the Soviet-Afghan war. Days before the shootings, his son, Omar, recalled his father speaking about the importance of unity.

"My father said how important it is to spread love and unity among each other and protect every member of the society we live in," Omar told Al-Jazeera.

Omar told the news network his father ran an Afghan Association and helped refugees settle in to a new country.

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HUSNE ARA PARVIN, 42

Parvin died being struck by bullets while trying to shield her wheelchair-bound husband, Farid Uddin Ahmed, her nephew Mahfuz Chowdhury told The Daily Star, a Bangladesh newspaper.

Chowdhury said Uddin had been ill for years and Parvin took him to the mosque every other Friday. Mahfuz said relatives in New Zealand told him when the shootings began, Parvin rushed to her husband's mosque to protect him. He survived.

The Bangladeshi couple had moved to New Zealand sometime after 1994, Chowdhury said.

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NAEEM RASHID, 50, and TALHA RASHID, 21

As the shootings unfolded, Naeem Rashid is seen on video trying to tackle the gunman, according to Rashid's brother, Khurshid Alam.

"He was a brave person, and I've heard from a few people there, there were few witnesses . they've said he saved a few lives there by trying to stop that guy," Alam told the BBC .

Rashid's son, Talha Rashid, is also among the dead. Pakistan's Ministry of Public Affairs confirmed their deaths in a tweet .

The elder Rashid was a teacher in Christchurch and was from Abbottabad, Pakistan. His son was 11 when his family moved to New Zealand. He had a new job and planned to get married.