Christchurch, New Zealand
One of New Zealand’s national papers has released the photographs of victims of the terrorist attacks on worshippers at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch this past Friday, where at least fifty men, women and children were gunned down during Friday prayers at the Masjid Al-Noor and Linwood mosques.
An Australian immigrant and far-right sympathiser, Brenton Tarrant, filmed himself carrying weapons and expressing Islamophobic and racial comments while driving to the Al-Noor mosque. He entered the place of worship, where he began shooting at people as they prayed. Worshippers were seen fleeing the mosque in panic as the terrorist reloaded his weapons and continued firing.
The terrorist atrocity has shocked New Zealand, a country that has largely escaped the worst in terms of international terrorism-related incidents, and drew condemnation and outpourings of sympathy for the victims globally.
The New Zealand Herald, one of the country’s largest circulating newspapers, paid tribute to the innocents who died at the two mosques, by publishing their photos and stories. People of all ages, backgrounds and from all over the world were among the victims. The tribute was also released on their website on Saturday.
The Herald began their tribute with these powerful words “They are fathers, mothers, grandparents, daughters and sons. They are refugees, immigrants and New-Zealand born. They are Kiwis. These are the names of those who have died or are missing after the horrific acts of terror in Christchurch.”
The article then listed the names and portraits of many of the victims so far identified. Among them, the youngest, 3-year-old Mucad Ibrahim, who had come to the Masjid Al-Noor with his father. Also honoured were Zulfirman Syah and his son Averroes, Abdullahi Dirie (aged just four), an unnamed 12-year-old child, Sayyad Milne (aged fourteen), Syrian refugees Khaled Mustafa and his sixteen-year-old son, Hamza, Pakistani-origin teacher Naeem Rashid and his son Talha, Ansi Karippakulam Alibava – originally from south India, software engineer Farhaj Ahsan, Mojammel Hoq – a dentistry student from Bangladesh, and Kuwaiti futsal goalkeeper and company director Atta Elayyan.
Also remembered were Syed Jahandad Ali, Emirati-origin Hussain Al-Umari, Osama Adnan – originally from Palestine, Kamel Darwish, Canterbury college academic director and doctor Haroon Mahmood, Husne Ara Parvin – who successfully saved her wheelchair-user husband Farid Uddin from being shot and was gunned down herself in her act of heroism, restaurant owner Mohammad Imran Kahn, Palestinian cardiologist Amjad Hamid, Abdelfattah Qasem – reported missing, Linda Armstrong, Ali Elmadani, Afghani refugee Haji-Daoud Nabi, Abdul Hamid Lilik and Fijian Ashraf Ali.
The Herald also paid tribute to the outstanding acts of heroism, bravery and humanity shown by both worshippers and passers-by in what has been described as New Zealand’s worst ever act of terrorism. Many survivors were forced to play dead to escape Tarrant’s attention and local residents banded together to help get people to safety.
The gunman, along with three others, were apprehended by police and he is now awaiting trial for murder. Thirty-four people are still being treated in city hospitals, of which twelve are in critical condition.
“Christchurch mosque shooting: The faces of the victims” – NZ Herald (16 March 2019) https://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?objectid=12213358&ref=twitter&fbclid=IwAR3_4KksDxhcAv6hYDpfTD0_FezyziQz5A7QayJtuAjL4qhoCUb9tRywSAk
“Christchurch mosque shooting: Accused gunman Brenton Tarrant ‘marked man’ in prison” – Melissa Nightingale and Lucy Bennett, NZ Herald (17 March 2019) https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12213526
“File:Christchurch mosque 003.JPG” – Schwede66, Wikimedia Commons (14 September 2014) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Christchurch_mosque_003.JPG