Daoud Nabi died a hero by protecting another worshipper, and there are many people who believe his name – and those of the other Christchurch victims – should be the ones we remember, not the terrorist who opened fire on peaceful people praying in their mosques. Nabi died as he lived: Helping others. He was known for his outreach to refugees newly arriving to New Zealand.
Nabi was the first victim to be named in the horrific mass shootings at two Christchurch mosques. The shootings took the lives of at least 49 people and injured at least 20, some of whom were children. Authorities have not yet released a list of the victims’ names. Nabi was identified by his family members as one of the victims. You can see a roundup of tributes to all of the victims here as their names are released.
In addition to Daoud Nabi’s selfless sacrifice, there were other signs of goodness amidst the horror. For example, one of the first people to see the gunman at the mosque greeted him with the phrase “hello, brother,” according to other witnesses – a phrase that contrasts sharply with the shooter’s hateful ideology.
Nabi’s son, Omar Nabi, spoke to NBC News and described how his dad died a hero and helped refugees during his life. The massacre has shocked the conscience of the world; three people are under arrest including a gunman who livestreamed the horrors on Facebook.
On Facebook, Omar Nabi shared a picture of his dad and wrote, “Please Dad. Come home.” He also wrote, “Daaaaaaaaddddd. Where Are U. Please God Answer. My Prayer.” Tragically, it was not to be.
Here’s what you need to know:
Daoud Nabi Threw Himself in Front of Another Worshipper to Save Them, His Son Says
Omar Nabi wasn’t at the Masjid Al Noor mosque when the gunman arrived because Omar was at work. But his father, described to NBC News as “devout and community-minded,” was there.
Nabi, a mechanic, told NBC News that he was told by others that his father, who was 71, “had thrown himself in front of another worshipper and been shot.” Omar confirmed to the network that Daoud Nabi sacrificed his life for that person.
He described how helping other people was just his father’s way. “He’s helped everyone who’s a refugee,” said Omar to NBC News. He told the network that Daoud Nabi “went to the airport to greet refugees, and help get them started in their new lives.” You can read his full interview here. (Heavy has reached out to Omar Nabi seeking additional comment; he wrote back a crying emoji.)
Omar and his brother were at the courthouse for the shooter’s first court appearance.
Daoud Nabi Is From Afghanistan & His Daughter Says He ‘Gave His Last Breath to the People’
On Facebook, Daoud Nabi goes by the name Haji Daoud Nabi. He has three pictures on his page. One is an older picture of himself, and the other two show family.
His Facebook page said Daoud Nabi lived in Christchurch, New Zealand and was from Kabul, Afghanistan. There are no other visible posts. According to NBC News, “The work of Daoud Nabi on behalf of refugees was linked to the family’s experience emigrating from Afghanistan to NZ in the wake of the Soviet Union invasion in the 1980s.”
On Facebook, Nabi’s daughter added another detail to the heroism: That people said Daoud Nabi ran back to save other people.
His daughter wrote of Daoud Nabi: “Inna Lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un baba janem ❤ We belong to Allah and to Allah we shall return. Everyone said ‘Haji Daoud saved our lives’ he ran back to save others. My father so kind and giving, gave his last breath to the people.”
There were also other heroes that day: Naeem Rashid, who “tried overpowering the shooter” but lost his life in the process. His son, Talha, also died.