At least 50 people were killed and dozens more were injured when a gunman attacked two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The victims of the extremist right-wing terror attack include men, women and children. The victims are from around the world, including some refugees who fled violence to find a new home in New Zealand.
The 28-year-old gunmnan, a native of Australia, was arrested after the shootings and is facing murder charges. He posted an anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant manifesto espousing hateful white supremacist beliefs on social media prior to the attacks and then live-streamed part of the shooting on Facebook. The investigation into the shooting is ongoing.
You can find a full list of the victims who have been identified so far, below.
The March 15 shootings occurred at the Masjid al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch, a city of about 374,000 people located on the east coast of New Zealand’s south island.
Among the dead are heroes, who tried to stop the shooter by rushing at him or died shielding other worshippers in the crowded mosques. Daoud Nabi threw himself in front of another worshipper who had been shot in order to save the other person’s life, his son says. Nabi died at the scene. Naeem Rashid rushed at the gunman and tried to stop him. His act of bravery was captured on the shooter’s video camera. He was shot multiple times and was killed. His son, Talha, also died in the shooting.
Nabi, was 71. Another victim, Abdullahi Dirie, was 4. He was at the mosque with his father and four siblings. His family members survived, but he died at a hospital, his uncle told The Washington Post.
“This is a time of distress, we are in disarray, we don’t know why this has happened,” Asim Mukhtar, secretary general of the Pakistan Association of New Zealand told The Post. “This is probably the last thing on our mind living in New Zealand that this will ever happen.” He said there were at least two members of the country’s Pakistani community in the mosque. Mukhtar said the Al Noor mosque is the largest in Christchurch and the shooting happened 15 minutes before prayer began, while many people were still parking or walking into the building. He said if the shooting happened mid-prayer, the tragic death toll may have been higher.
“We are really not feeling safe at the moment,” he said. Some of the victims were Syrian refugees, a group called Syrian Solidarity New Zealand, told The Post. Ali Akil, a spokesman for the group, said they fled the civil war in their home country for “a safe haven, only to be killed here.”
Yasmin Ali told New Zealand’s News 1 that she lost a close friend and now fears being targeted for wearing a headscarf in public. “Family friends that we’ve known for 19 years — dead. People who were there for my engagement — dead,” she told the news station. “You don’t think something like this can happen in New Zealand, in Christchurch of all places with such a small community, kind and loving.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the incident is “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.” She added, “Many directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here…They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not.”
She added, “Because we condone this racism, or because we are an enclave of extremism, we were chosen for the very fact that we are none of these things. I want to send a message to those directly affected…For many this may have not been the place they were born. For many New Zealand was their choice, a place they actively came to and committed themselves to…it was a place where many came to for their safety. A place where it was safe to practice their culture and religion. We represent diversity and compassion, a home for those who share our values, a refuge for those who need it. And those values will not and can not be shaken by this attack. We are a proud nation of more than 200 ethnicities and 160 languages.”
Ardern added, “e were chosen (because) we represent diversity, kindness compassion, a home for those who share our values, refuge for those who need it and those values, I can assure you, will not and cannot be shaken by this attack … we utterly condemn and reject you.”
These are the victims who have been identified so far:
Daoud Nabi, 71, has been hailed as a hero for throwing himself on a wounded worshipper to save that person from being shot and killed, his son, Omar Nabi, told reporters. His son described Nabi as “devout and community-minded,” according to NBC News. Nabi was known to help refugees who were members of their community, his son said.
Nabi himself was a refugee, moving his family from Kabul, Afghanistan, to New Zealand in the 1980s after the invasion of the Soviet Union, according to NBC News.
Naeem Rashid has been hailed as hero for rushing at the gunman and trying to disarm him during the shooting at Masjid al Noor. He was shot multiple times during the struggle with the shooter and died. His son, Talha, was also killed in the shooting. He made his rush at the gunman despite his son having been killed in front of him.
According to The Daily Pakistan, Rashid was originally from Abbottabad city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He worked at a private bank in Pakistan before moving to Christchurch.
Talha Naeem was killed at the Masjid al Noor mosque along with his father, Naeem Rashid, according to The Daily Pakistan. He was 21.
Salwa Mirwan Mohamad
Salwa Mirwan Mohamad was identified in court documents as one of the victims killed in the shooting, The Washington Post reports. No other information about Mohamad has been made public.
4-year-old Abdullahi Dirie was one of the victims of the attacks, his uncle, Abdulrahman Hashi, told The Washington Post. Hashi is a preacher at Dar Al Hijrah Mosque in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
His brother-in-law, Adan Ibrahin Dirie, was wounded in the shooting and was hospitalized. Abdullahi was at the mosque with his father and his four siblings. The other children survived the shooting and were not wounded. The family fled Somalia as refugees in the 1990s and resettled in New Zealand, Hashi told The Post.
“You cannot imagine how I feel. He was the youngest in the family,” Hashi told the newspaper. “This is a problem of extremism. Some people think the Muslims in their country are part of that, but these are innocent people.”
3-year-old Mucad Ibrahim is believed to be the youngest victim of the shooting. He was at the mosque with his father and older brother, according to the New Zealand Herald. Abdi Ibrahim said his younger brother was “energetic, playful and liked to smile and laugh a lot.”
His brother posted a photo of Mucad to Facebook and wrote, “Verily we belong to God and to Him we shall return. Will miss you dearly brother”.”
Sayyad Milne was at the mosque with his father and twin 15-year-old brothers. Sayyad had just turned 14, his father told the New Zealand Herald. He was “regular, typical kiwi kid,” who loved soccer.
“I remember him as my baby who i nearly lost when he was born. Such a struggle he’s had throughout all his life. he’s been unfairly treated but he’s risen above that and he’s very brave. A brave little soldier. It’s so hard … to see him just gunned down by someone who didn’t care about anyone or anything. I know where he is. I know he’s at peace,” his father, John Milne, told the newspaper.
His father was seen around Christchurch the day after the shooting holding a sign saying, “everyone love everyone.”
Khaled Mustafa died in the shooting along with his 14-year-old son, Hazma, according to the group Syrian Solidarity New Zealand.
“#Khaled_Mustafa is a #Syrian_Refugee who has come with his family (wife and three children) to NZ, which they thought was the safe heaven, in 2018. He was with his two sons in the congregational #FridayPrayer when the #Terrorist shot them,” the group wrote on Facebook. “Khaled’s wife and daughter are in total shock, devastation and horror. The devastated and deeply horrified mother is at the same time trying to look after her hospitalised son.”
Hazma Mustafa was killed along with his father, Khaled Mustafa. Hazma came to New Zealand in 2018 from Syria with his father, mother and two siblings, according to Syrian Solidarity New Zealand.
Atta Elayyan, 33, was the goalkeeper for the national and Canterbury futsal teams, according to Stuff. He was born in Kuwait and recently became a father. He is survived by his wife and young son.
He worked in the tech industry in Christchurch as the director of LWA Solutions, according to his Linkedin profile.
“I’m Atta, a tech entrepreneur with an extensive background in UX Design and a passion for leveraging the latest mobile technology to facilitate innovative, user centered solutions that address complex problems,” he wrote on Linkedin. “I am currently focused on leading a talented team of individuals as we deliver bleeding edge mobile solutions that streamline business processes, empower mobile workers and delight customers. When I am not delivering software, I am speaking at tech events, teaching UX courses at Universities and playing Futsal professionally for New Zealand’s national team.”
Husne Ara Parvin
Husne Ara Parvin, 42, has been called one of the heroes of the shooting. She died while protecting her wheelchair-bound husband, Farid Uddin, who survived the attack, the New Zealand Herald reports. She was originally from Bangladesh.
“Khala (aunt) went to the women’s section of the mosque after leaving her paralysed husband at the men’s section on a wheelchair,” her nephew Mahfuz Chowdhury, told the newspaper. “She came out when she heard gunshots. She died on the spot as she approached the men’s section to save her husband.”
Ali Emandani, 66, was a native of Palestine, according to the New Zealand Herald. He was a retired engineer who also lived in the United Arab Emirates before moving to New Zealand in 1998, accoridng to his daughter.
Farhaj Ahsan moved to New Zealand from Hyderabad, India, for a career as a software engineer, according to his family. He is survived by his wife and two children, ages 3 and 6 months.
Kishowara Begum was killed at the mosque along with her husband, Abdus Samad. They were natives of Bangladesh. Their deaths were confirmed by BDNews24.
Abdus Samad was a former professor at Bangladesh Agriculture University, according to BDNews24. He was killed at the mosque along with his wife, Kishowara Begum.
Haroon Mahmood was among the Pakistani victims of the shooting, according to Pakistan Today. He was a Ph.D candidate at t Lincoln Univeristy. Mahmood is survived by his wife and two children.
This post will be updated as more victims’ names are released.