These Are the Victims of the New Zealand Mosque Attack - NBC Connecticut
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These Are the Victims of the New Zealand Mosque Attack

Here are the stories of the lives lost and those who were wounded

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    Aqeel Ahmed/AP
    Relatives look at the pictures of Pakistani citizen Rashid Naeem, and his son Talha Naeem, who were reportedly killed in the Christchurch mosque shooting, in a cell phone at their native home in Abbottabad, Pakistan, Saturday, March 16, 2019.

    An attack on a New Zealand mosque took the lives of 50 worshippers 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 and wounded.

    THE DEAD

    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.

    Mosque Massacre Survivor Describes Chasing Shooter

    [NATL] Mosque Massacre Survivor Describes Chasing Shooter

    Abdul Aziz, 48, originally from Kabul in Afghanistan, was at the Linwood mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, with his family when a gunman attacked on Friday. A day layer, he described running outside and trying to chase the shooter, throwing a gun the shooter had left behind at the attacker's car.

    (Published Saturday, March 16, 2019)

    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."

    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.

    ANSI ALIBAVA, 25
    Indian news reports said Alibava, 25, had moved to New Zealand last year after marrying Abdul Nazar.

    The Indian Express newspaper said she was studying agriculture technology at Lincoln University and her husband worked at a supermarket in Christchurch. They got married in 2017.

    The Manorama Online news site said her mother, Rasia, had prayed for the safety of the two when the news broke of the attacks.

    Alibava used to call her family back in India every day, but they were worried when there was no call after the shootings. They later found out from the husband what had happened.

    The report said she was hoping to find a job in New Zealand to support her family back home.

    INDIAN CITIZENS KILLED
    India's ambassador to New Zealand issued the following names of Indian citizens who were killed in the mosque attacks:

    — Maheboob Khokhar

    49 Fatally Shot in Terror Attack on New Zealand Mosques

    [NATL] 49 Fatally Shot in Terror Attack on New Zealand Mosques

    Mass shootings in two New Zealand mosques killed at least 49 people and injured at least 48 others in what Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern decried as a terrorist attack. Witnesses describe the moment of the shooting at one mosque.

    (Published Friday, March 15, 2019)

    — Ramiz Vora

    — Asif Vora

    — Ansi Alibava

    — Ozair Kadir

    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 hospitalized. The family fled Somalia in the mid-1990s as refugees and resettled in New Zealand.

    CAIR Leader Calls for Trump to More Clearly Condemn Anti-Muslim Terrorism

    [NATL] CAIR Leader Calls for Trump to More Clearly Condemn Anti-Muslim Terrorism

    Niwad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, responded Friday to the terrorist attacks on mosques in New Zealand. He called on President Donald Trump to “condemn this, not only as a hate crime, but as a white supremacist terrorist attack.”

    (Published Friday, March 15, 2019)

    "You cannot imagine how I feel," Hashi said.

    He added: "He was the youngest in the family. This is a problem of extremism. Some people think the Muslims in their country are part of that, but these are innocent people."

    ATTA ELYAN
    Atta Elayyan, 33, was a goalkeeper for a New Zealand futsal team. 

    The Oceania Football Confederation said those who knew Elayyan described him as having "an unbridled passion for futsal and for representing New Zealand." Futsal is a variant of indoor soccer. A statement from the confederation released Monday extended condolences to Atta's family and all of those affected. 

    OFC official Paul Toohey said Elayyan was a selfless man who always had time for friends, family, teammates and young up-and-coming players. "Atta was everything a team could want — an outstanding performer who was dedicated to his goalkeeping craft — but also a great friend and leader among his teammates at Canterbury United Dragons and the Futsal Whites," Toohey said. 

    His father, Mohammed Elyan, co-founded one of the mosques in 1993, and was among those wounded, said Muath Elyan, Mohammed's brother, who said he spoke to Mohammed's wife after the shooting. Muath said his brother also teaches engineering at a university and runs a consultancy.

    Dozens Killed in 'Unprecedented' New Zealand Mosque Shootings

    [NATL] Dozens Killed in 'Unprecedented' New Zealand Mosque Shootings

    Shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, left dozens of people dead on Friday. Police say three men and a woman are in custody. Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern said, "There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence."

    (Published Friday, March 15, 2019)

    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.

    She said her mother "is staying as strong as possible. My younger brother isn't doing too well with the news."

    LILIK ABDUL HAMID
    The longtime aircraft maintenance engineer at Air New Zealand was killed in the Al Noor mosque when he was killed, his employer said in a statement.

    "Lilik has been a valued part of our engineering team in Christchurch for 16 years, but he first got to know the team even earlier when he worked with our aircraft engineers in a previous role overseas," Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon said. "The friendships he made at that time led him to apply for a role in Air New Zealand and make the move to Christchurch. His loss will be deeply felt by the team.

    Hamid was married and had two children, Luxon said.

    "Lilik, his wife Nina and their children Zhania and Gerin are well known and loved by our close-knit team of engineers and their families, who are now doing all they can to support the family alongside our leadership team and the airline's special assistance team," he said.

    HUSSEIN AL-UMARI, 35
    When Aya Al-Umari thinks of her big brother, she pictures him with his arms wide open, ready to wrap her in an embrace. Hussein Al-Umari was a hugger, she says, a kind man, and the quintessential big brother who delighted in teasing his little sister. 

    Hussein, 35, was killed while attending Friday prayers at Al Noor mosque. 

    Aya had spent the previous evening having dinner with him, and she recalled how excited he was that their parents had just bought a new car. 

    She and her brother were born in Abu Dhabi and moved with their parents to New Zealand in 1997. Hussein worked in the tourism industry, and he loved traveling. He had recently traveled to the seaside South Island city of Nelson and had created a video blog of his adventures. Aya had been impressed by how polished it was. 

    Their mother, an Iraqi calligraphy artist named Janna Ezzat, wrote on Facebook that her son had become a martyr. 

    Ezzat wrote: "Our son was full of life and always put the needs of others in front of his own."

    MUCAAD IBRAHIM, 3
    At just 3 years old, Mucaad Ibrahim is the youngest known victim of the attacks. He was separated from his older brother Abdi and their father when the shooting began at the Al Noor mosque.

    After an agonizing search by the family, Abdi said police finally confirmed that the toddler had been killed.

    Mucaad was born and raised in Christchurch. He was beloved by the community, known for his energetic demeanor and easy laugh. He was bright and bubbly, and loved playing with an iPad.

    Ahmed Osman, a close family friend, said Mucaad used to cheer from the sidelines as Osman and Abdi played soccer on Friday evenings at a park near the mosque. The little boy had planned to watch them play soccer as usual on Friday. He never made it.

    Osman said the support of the community has helped the family pull through.

    "New Zealand is always behind us," he said. "Even when we walk down the street, people stop us and say, 'Are you guys OK?' That's what New Zealand is about. It's all about coming together. One person cannot stop us."

    MOHAMMAD IMRAN KHAN
    A handwritten cardboard sign outside Mohammad Imran Khan's restaurant, the Indian Grill in Christchurch, on Sunday said simply CLOSED. A handful of pink flowers laid nearby.

    The owner of the convenience store next door, JB's Discounter, Jaiman Patel, 31, said he helped the staff with the keys after the terrorist attack that claimed Khan's life.

    "He's a really good guy. I tried to help him out with the setup and everything," Patel said. "We also put the key out for them when the terrorists come, and sorted it out for him."

    Khan had a son who was 10 or 11, Patel said.

    The two were business neighbors who helped each other out when needed, he said.

    "We are helping each other. It's so sad."

    SAYYAD MILNE, 14
    Milne, 14, 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. 

    "They're all at home just waiting. They're just waiting and they don't know what to do," Henry told the news site. 

    "He had kind eyes, a big heart, a cheeky smile and a thick mop of black hair. He loved playing football and also indoor futsal," Cashmere High School principal Mark Wilson told students at an assembly Monday. 

    The school's futsal goalkeeper planned to travel with the team to the national tournament in Wellington this month.

    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.

    HAMZA MUSTAFA, 16
    Hamza's family fled the civil war in Syria, then he spent six of his young years as a refugee in Jordan before the family was accepted into New Zealand in 2018. 

    An excellent horse rider who aspired to be a veterinarian, Hamza, 16, was compassionate and a hard-working student, said Cashmere High School principal Mark Wilson. 

    "Despite the fact that he hadn't been here for a long time he had already quickly developed many friends," he said. 

    His younger brother Zaed, also a Cashmere student, remains hospitalized with gunshot wounds to his leg. Their father, Khalid, also died in the attack on the Al Noor Mosque.

    KHALID MUSTAFA
    Mustafa, who fled the civil war in Syria with his family, was at Friday's Al Noor service with his two sons, 16-year-old Hamza and 13-year-old Zaed. 

    He died, along with Hamza, while Zaed remains hospitalized with gunshot wounds. 

    Mustafa's wife, Salwa, told Radio New Zealand that when the family asked about New Zealand before they were accepted in July 2018, they were told "it's the safest country in the world, the most wonderful country you can go ... you will start a very wonderful life there. But it wasn't."

    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 into a new country.

    "He used to make them feel at home," Omar said.

    TARIQ OMAR
    Omar, a former Cashmere High School student from 2008 to 2012, was also among those who died, principal Mark Wilson said.

    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. She had taken him to the mosque for men while she went to the one for women. 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.

    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 a few witnesses. They've said he saved a few lives there by trying to stop that guy," Alam told the BBC. 

    The 50-year-old Rashid's son, Talha Naeem, 21, is also among the dead. 

    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. 

    Rashid's brother, Dr. Mohammad Khursheed, who lives in Abbottabad, received an emotional call from his sister-in-law telling him of his brother's death.

    Khursheed said his brother had already bought a plane ticket to Pakistan for a May family reunion. 

    Pakistan declared Monday a national day of mourning to honor its citizens killed in the attack, and said Rashid would be recognized for his heroism. 

    SYED AREEB AHMED, 26
    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 during the mosque attack.

    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.

    Ahmed was an only son who had immigrated to New Zealand for work, his uncle said.

    "Education had always remained his first priority," Khan said. "He had gone to New Zealand recently where he got his job. He had only started his career, but the enemies took his life"

    Family members, relatives, and friends have gathered at Ahmed's house to express their condolences. His body is expected to arrive there in the coming days.

    GHULAM HUSSAIN, KARAM BIBI and ZEESHAN RAZA
    Three Pakistanis from the same family — Ghulam Hussain and his wife, Karam Bibi, and their son Zeeshan Raza — were also killed in the attacks.

    OTHER PAKISTANI VICTIMS
    Pakistan's foreign ministry said three other Pakistanis were killed: 

    — Haroon Mahmood, 40, son of Shahid Mehmood 

    —Sohail Shahid, 40, son of Muhammad Shabbir 

    —Syed Jahanand Ali, 34

    THE WOUNDED

    ELIN DARAGHMEH
    A Palestinian woman says her 4-year-old daughter is fighting for her life while her husband is in serious but stable condition after being wounded in the mosque shooting.

    Asmaa Daraghmeh, 27, said the family moved to New Zealand from Jordan four years ago when her husband received a permit to work as a hairdresser.

    "It was a great opportunity," she said, crying on the phone. "The country is safe, beautiful and hospitable."

    She spoke from the Auckland hospital where their daughter, Elin, remained in intensive care. Her husband, 33, was being transported to the same hospital.

    Asmaa said she is a devout Muslim who was active in the mosque.

    "Our life was great in this great country until this devil appeared and turned it to hell," she said.

    SHIHADEH NASASRAH
    Shihadeh Nasasrah, 63, who was wounded in the New Zealand mosque shooting, said he spent terrifying minutes lying underneath two dying men as the gunman kept firing.

    The assailant "would go out and bring more ammunition and resume shooting," said Nasasrah, speaking by phone from a Christchurch hospital where he was recovering from two shots to the leg. "Every time he stopped, I thought he was gone. But he returned over and over again. I was afraid to leave because I didn't know the safest way out. I died several times, not one time."

    Nasasrah had attended Friday prayers at the Al Noor Mosque with his friend, Abdel Fattah Qasim, 60, who was killed in the shooting. Both were originally from the West Bank — Nasasrah from the town of Beit Furik and Qasim from the town of Arabeh.

    Nasasrah said about 200 to 300 worshippers were in the mosque for Friday prayers, and that he and his friend were sitting in the front, near the imam, or prayer leader. The imam was delivering the sermon when the gunman burst into the mosque, he said.

    "Panic spread all over the place," Nasasrah said. "Some started saying Allahu Akbar (God is great). We scrambled to leave toward a second door that leads to a hall and then to the street, but the bullets brought us down."

    "Two people came on top of me, and he (the gunman) approached us and opened fire. Both were killed and I felt them dying," Nasasrah said. "I felt their blood. I myself was shoot and I thought 'I'm dying'."

    He said he uttered the words that devout Muslims speak before their death — "there is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his messenger."

    Nasasrah, a car dealer, said most of the worshippers were from Asia, including Indonesia, India, Singapore and Malaysia, and that Arabs made up a smaller part of the congregation.

    The attack left him and other Muslims in the area worried and puzzled.

    "I never heard a racist word in this country," he said. "I don't know what happened and why. I will not leave this country. Our lives are well established here, our homes, works, family is here and we will not leave."

    As a young man, Nasasrah studied English in the Syrian capital of Damascus, and then worked as a translator at the New Zealand embassy in Saudi Arabia for 14 years. The father of three moved to New Zealand in 1990. His three children graduated from universities in New Zealand and have established their lives in the country.

    MUHAMMAD AMIN NASIR, 67
    Nasir and his son were just 200 meters (219 yards) from the Al Noor mosque on Friday when everything went wrong. They had no idea that a white supremacist had just slaughtered at least 41 people inside the mosque. A car that had been driving by suddenly stopped, and a man leaned out the window pointing a gun at them.

    They ran as the bullets began to fly. But at 67, Nasir could not keep up with his 35-year-old son. He fell behind by two or three fateful steps.

    The gunman drove away. A pool of blood poured from Nasir's body.

    Nasir, who lived in Pakistan, had been regularly visiting his son in New Zealand.

    He was on the third week of his visit when he was shot. He remains in an induced coma with critical injuries, though his condition has stabilized.

    ADEEB SAMI, 52
    As the rampage inside the mosque began, Sami was shot in the back as he dove to protect his two sons, Abdullah, 29, and Ali, 23, the Gulf News reported.

    "My dad is a real hero. He got shot in the back near his spine in an attempt to shield my brothers but he didn't let anything happen to them," Adeeb's daughter, Heba, 30, told the Gulf News.

    Sami, described by the Gulf News as a Dubai-based New Zealander of Iraqi origin, underwent surgery to remove the bullet and his daughter said he's recovering.