Remembering the victims of the New Zealand terrorist attack

While much of the media has been focused on the killer, and some outlets outright humanising him, several activists and community leaders have stepped forward and called for us to remember and celebrate the lives of the victims. 

While much of the media has been focused on the killer, and some outlets outright humanising him, several activists and community leaders have stepped forward and called for us to remember and celebrate the lives of the victims. 

On a calm afternoon in Christchurch, New Zealand, as Muslims gathered for their Friday prayers in two separate mosques, a far-right terrorist proceeded to enter the mosques with semi-automatic weapons and fire indiscriminately at worshippers. 49 beautiful souls were originally taken from us, and at the time of writing, that number has risen to 51.

While much of the media has been focused on the killer, and some outlets outright humanising him, several activists and community leaders have stepped forward and called for us to remember and celebrate the lives of the victims.

Here I would like to mention just some of the beautiful souls who were taken from us on that fateful day.

I would like to thank Khaled Beydoun for his wonderful Twitter thread dedicated to the victims, which you can read in full here.


Naeem Rasheed

Naeem was a hero. As depicted in the horrific live-stream that the killer decided to broadcast during his massacre, Naeem lunged at the killer to tackle him. He had just witnessed his son Talha being killed, among so many others around him.

Naeem with his son Talha.

Naeem was badly injured at the shooting and later passed away after being taken to the hospital. His courage was recognised by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who promised him a national award.

His brother, Khurshid Alam, spoke of how proud he was of his brother’s actions:

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.

His son Talha, a college student, was just 21.


Haji Daoud Nabi

Hajj Daoud was another hero who stepped forward to save others.

He was 71-years-old. His son told media that his father had jumped into the firing line to save the lives of others.

Daoud Nabi.

Haji Daoud was beloved by the community and had originally come to New Zealand from Afghanistan in 1977. He was one of the first to die.

In the live-stream, Haji Daoud can be seen stepping forward to the killer as he enters the mosque, telling him “hello brother”.

His son, Yama al-Nabi, escaped the shooting by minutes as he was running late.

Another son, Omar, said that his father would greet refugees who were coming to Christchurch for a new life at the airport.


Mohammad Atta Alayan

Mohammad was the founder of the Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch.

Mohammad Atta pictured with his son.

Originally a Palestinian refugee, he had raised funds to build the mosque.

Mucad Ibrahim

Mucad was just three-years-old, and was the youngest of all victims.

Mucad Ibrahim

He had attended the mosque with his father and brother, but as the panic and the horror ensued, the three became separated. Mucad’s death was confirmed on Sunday.

His brother Abdi said:

My mum, she’s been struggling… Every time she sees other people crying, emotional, she just collapses.


Abdullahi Dirie

Abdullahi was just 4-years-old.

His family first came to New Zealand in the 1990s, fleeing war in Somalia.

His uncle, Abdulrahman Hashi, a preacher at a mosque in Minneapolis, told the Washington Post:

You cannot imagine how I feel. He was the youngest in the family.

He added, “This is a problem of extremism. Some people think the Muslims in their country are part of that, but these are innocent people.”


Atta Elayyan

Atta Elayyan with his wife and child.

Atta was the goalkeeper of New Zealand football team, the Futsal Whites.

Atta was of Palestinian origin. Alongside his footballing career, he was also chief executive of a technology consultancy, as well as a professional gamer.


He leaves behind a wife, Farah, and a 2-year-old daughter, Aya.

Khaled Mustafa

Khaled and his family had fled war in Syria, and had begun their new life in New Zealand.

Khaled was shot while praying, along with his two sons. Hamza is missing, and Zaid is recovering from an operation in hospital.

khaled mustafa

Ali Akil, of Syrian Solidarity in New Zealand, said:

They were just looking for a safe place. Unfortunately we can’t claim that New Zealand is a safe place anymore.

On Khaled, activist Khaled Beydoun said on Twitter:

He secured a better life for his family, but won’t be there to realize that dream with them.


Hose Ara Parvin

Hosna, 42-years-old, had originally escaped the mosque after the shooting began, and was helping lead women out.

Ara Parvin.

She returned into the mosque to search for her husband, Farid, who uses a wheelchair. She is said to have lept in front of him to shield him from bullets, sacrificing her life for his.

Her niece, Nusrat, told NewsHub:

She’s brave, and she gave her life saving others.


Sayyad Milne

Sayyad was just fourteen years old, and had attended Friday prayers every week.

He was a footballer, a student at high school, and had dreamed of becoming an international footballer.

His mother, Noraini, escaped. His father, John Milne, told New Zealand radio:

It’s so hard… to see him just gunned down by someone who didn’t care about anyone or anything.

Syed Areeb Ahmed

Syed Areeb was working in New Zealand to help support his family back in Karachi, Pakistan.

Syed Areeb Ahmed

He was described by his uncle as deeply religious.

His body will be sent to Pakistan for burial.


Lilik Abdul Hamid

Lilik was a longtime maintenance engineer at Air New Zealand, having worked there for 16 years.

He had moved to Christchurch with his wife from Jakarta in 2003.

Lilik was married with two children.

Lilik Abdul Hamid

His daughter, Zhania Anindya, told Radio New Zealand:

We never felt alone with his personality, he was always making friends with anyone.


These are just some of the beautiful souls that were taken in an unacceptable act of terror. While news outlets focus on the story of the killer, who does not deserve the attention that he sought, let us celebrate the lives of the heroic 51.

They are at peace, it is we who are still suffering.

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