New Zealand mosque attack: Who were the victims?

They were teachers, engineers and accountants. Some had migrated to New Zealand decades ago, fleeing conflict or seeking a better life, while others were only in the Pacific Island country for short visits.

Many died while trying to protect others, according to family members.  

Officials in New Zealand have not yet released the names of the at least 50 Muslim worshippers who were shot dead by an attacker on Friday at two mosques in Christchurch, but foreign ministries and diplomats from around the world have identified 29 of the victims.

Those named hailed from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, India and Egypt.

Here’s what we know so far about the victims of the gun assault, which authorities described as a “well-planned terrorist attack”.

Naeem Rashid, 49

Naeem Rashid, originally from Abbottabad in Pakistan, was “badly wounded” at the Al Noor mosque after he tried “overpowering the shooter”, the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis said in a series of Twitter posts.

He was rushed to the hospital, but lost his life “due to indiscriminate firing”, the ministry added.

Stuff, a local news website, said Rashid was being hailed as a hero.

His sister-in-law, Naema Khan, told the website that video footage of the shooting showed Rashid trying to stop the attacker. Describing Rashid as a kind and humble man, Khan said family members were calling from around the world to say; “He will be our hero.”

Saleem Khan, Rashid’s maternal uncle, said his nephew was a “bold and brave man”.

“Without caring for his life, he saved people,” Khan told the Associated Press news agency in Abbottabad. “Many people are claiming they were saved by Naeem.” 

The 49-year-old migrated to New Zealand in 2009 and was a teacher, according to AP. 

Imran Khan, Pakistan’s prime minister, said on Sunday that Pakistan was “proud” of Rashid and his “courage will be recognised with a national award”. 

Talha Naeem, 22

Rashid’s son, 22-year-old Talha Naeem, was also killed in the attack, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said.

Khurshid Alam, Rashid’s brother, told Anadolu news agency that his nephew had recently completed an engineering degree in New Zealand.

“I spoke to my brother last week and he was planning to come to Pakistan to arrange his son’s marriage ceremony. But now we lost both of them,” Alam said.

Rashid is survived by his wife, Ambareen Alam, and two sons.

Mohammad Faisal, a spokesman for Pakistan’s foreign ministry, said both the father and the son would be buried in Christchurch. 

Haji Daoud Nabi, 71

Afghanistan’s embassy in Canberra, the Australian capital, confirmed Haji Daoud Nabi’s death in a Facebook post on Saturday. The 71-year-old grandfather was among the first victims to be identified.

Born in Afghanistan, Nabi had fled the country in 1979 to escape the Soviet invasion, his son, Omar Nabi, told Al Jazeera. 

In Christchurch, he ran a group called the Afghan Association to help refugees start new lives.

Nabi, an engineer, is survived by four sons, one daughter and nine grandchildren who he loved “immensely”, Omar said over the telephone.

Earlier in the day, Nabi’s 43-year-old son told reporters in Christchurch that his father was killed after “he jumped in the firing line to save somebody else’s life”.

Yama Nabi, Omar’s brother, told reporters that his father was “a very humble man who has helped a lot of people.”

A friend repeatedly told him, “Your father saved my life,” Yama Nabi said.

Omar Nabi speaks to the media about losing his father, Haji Daoud Nabi, in the mosque attacks, at the District Court in Christchurch [Edgar Su/Reuters] 

Abdus Samad, 67

Originally from Madhur Hailla village in Bangladesh’s Kurigram district, Abdus Samad was among two people of Bangladeshi origin who died in the Christchurch attacks, according to Shahriar Alam, the country’s state minister for foreign affairs.

Born on February 23, 1953, Samad worked as a lecturer in Bangladesh’s Agricultural Development Corporation. He retired in December 2012 and moved to New Zealand with his wife and two sons the following year, according to a family member.

After obtaining citizenship in New Zealand, Samad worked as a visiting professor at the Lincoln University in Christchurch. 

His brother, Habibur Rahman, told Al Jazeera that Samad used to lead prayers at Al Noor mosque.

“He was a very pious person,” Rahman said from Kurigram.

Hosne Ara Parvin, 42

Hosne Ara Parvin, originally from northeastern Sylhet district in northeastern Bangladesh, was killed while trying to shield her wheelchair-bound husband, according to her nephew, Mahfuj Chowdhury.

Citing witnesses, Chowdhury told Al Jazeera: “Like other Fridays, Parvin took her husband to the mosque and left him in the men’s section which is separate from the women’s section. Immediately after hearing the sounds of shooting, she rushed towards the men’s section and tried to save her husband. Then she was hit by a bullet.”

Speaking from Dhaka, Chowdhury said Parvin’s sister-in-law, Hima survived the attack.

Parvin, 42, is survived by her husband Farid Ahmed and daughter Shipa Ahmed.

She had moved to New Zealand in 1994. She was the second person of Bangladeshi origin confirmed dead in the Christchurch mosque shootings, according to Bangladeshi officials.

Areeb Ahmed, 26

Areeb Ahmed, a 26-year-old chartered accountant, had recently moved from Karachi, Pakistan, for a job in New Zealand to help support his family, AP said.

Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said he was among the nine Pakistanis confirmed to have been killed in Christchurch. His body is expected to arrive in Karachi in the coming days, according to AP. 

One of Ahmed’s uncles, Muhammad Muzaffar Khan, described him as deeply religious, praying five times a day. “He had gone to New Zealand recently where he got his job. He had only started his career, but the enemies took his life,” Khan told AP. 

A relative shows the picture of Areeb Ahmed on his mobile phone outside his home in Karachi, Pakistan [Fareed Khan/AP]

In a Facebook post, PwC New Zealand, Ahmed’s employer, said the accountant was a “loved and respected” member of staff. “His smile, warmth, dedication, respect and humour will be deeply missed,” the company said. 

Lilik Abdul Hamid, 58

Indonesia’s foreign ministry said its citizen, Lilik Abdul Hamid, was among the dozens who died in the mosque shootings.

Air New Zealand, the country’s national carrier, said Hamid was an aircraft maintenance engineer with the company and had been “a valued part of our engineering team in Christchurch for 16 years”. 

Christopher Luxon, the airline’s chief executive officer, added: “His loss will be deeply felt by the team.”

Hamid is survived by his wife Nina, and two children, Zhania and Gerin. 

His daughter, Zhania, told Radio New Zealand that her father had a passion for engines. “I never thought about fixing anything … because dad always did it. His passion has always been with all things engines, not just aircraft.”

Stuff news website said Hamid was 58 years old. 

Atta Mohammed Elayyan, 33

Atta Mohammad Elayyan was the goalkeeper for New Zealand’s national men’s futsal team.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said the 33-year-old was among six people of Palestinian origin who were killed in the Christchurch attacks.

Born in Kuwait, Elayyan recently became a father and was a popular member of the Christchurch tech industry, according to the New Zealand Herald. He cofounded the tech company, LWA Solutions, and was its CEO.

Kyle Wisnewski, Elayyan’s friend, paid tribute in a post on Twitter. “My heart is broken, a role model to myself and so many in the futsal community,” he wrote, adding: “You won’t ever meet a more down to earth, humbling person.” 

Josh Margett, New Zealand’s futsal development manager, offered condolences to Elayyan’s family on Twitter. “We are deeply sorry for your loss,” he wrote.

He leaves behind his wife Farah and young daughter Aya.

Jahandad Ali, 34

Pakistan’s foreign ministry said Jahandad Ali from Lahore was among the nine Pakistanis killed in the mosque shootings.

Mahboob Haroon, 40

Mahboob Haroon, from Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, was also killed in the gun assaults, according to the Pakistani foreign ministry.

Amjad Hamid, 57

Amjad Hamid, confirmed dead in the Christchurch attacks by Palestine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, had migrated to New Zealand 23 years ago to find a better future, a family member told the New Zealand Herald.

His wife, Hanan, described the heart doctor as a “very kind man”.

“We were hoping to find a better future for us,” she said. “It’s hard to talk about him.”

Hamid’s 20-year-old son Mohammed Hamid told the Herald he wanted to say only one thing: “I just really loved my dad.” 

The Brisbane Times said Hamid was “well liked for his kindness, compassion and sense of humour” and would often take fresh baklava to his colleagues at the Hawera Hospital. 

Osama Adnan Abu Kweik, 37

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Osama Adnan Abu Kweik, who was of Palestinian origin, had died in the mosque attacks. 

The New Zealand Herald said the 37-year-old, who had previously lived in Egypt, had been in the process of applying for citizenship in New Zealand. The Brisbane Times said Kweik was from the Gaza Strip. 

Sohail Shahid, 40

Sohail Shahid died in the mosque attacks in New Zealand, said Pakistan’s foreign ministry. There were no additional details.

Abdul Fattah Qassim al-Daqqah, 59

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Abdul Fattah al-Daqqah, of Palestinian origin, was killed in the shootings. The New Zealand Herald said the 59-year-old was the former secretary of the Muslim Association in Christchurch. 

Ali Elmadani, 65

Ali Elmadani, a retired electrical engineer, migrated from the United Arab Emirates to New Zealand in 1998, according to Stuff, a local news website. He was at the Al Noor mosque at the time of the gun assault. 

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Elmadani was among the six people of Palestinian origin killed in the Christchurch attacks.

His daughter, Maha Elmadani, described him as “gentle and kind”, according to the New Zealand Herald. 

Kamel Darwish, 38

Kamel Darwish, a father of three, was among the six people of Palestinian origin shot dead in the Christchurch mosque attacks, according to Palestine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Brisbane Times said the 38-year-old had migrated to New Zealand from Jordan about six months ago to join his older brother, Zuhair Darwish.

Kamel Darwish’s wife and three young children had applied for a visa to join him, according to the Australian newspaper. “He was very honest and caring,” Zuhair Darwish was quoted as saying. 

Maheboob Khokhar, 65

In a Twitter post on Saturday, the Indian embassy in New Zealand said Maheboob Khokhar, an Indian national, was killed in the mosque attacks.

The 65-year-old was a retired manager at a Gujarat power station and was in Christchurch to visit his 27-year-old son Imran Khokar, Reuters news agency reported. It was Khokhar’s first time visiting the country, and he was due to fly back to Indian on Sunday with his wife, Akhtar Begum. 

His son, who migrated to New Zealand in 2010, had just dropped off Khokhar at the Al Noor mosque and was still in the parking lot when he heard the screams, according to Reuters.

Khokar was a “humble and jolly man”, his friend, Tajuddin Pawar, told the Ahmedabad Mirror. 

Asif Vora, 56

Asif Vora, named among the dead by India’s embassy in New Zealand, had gone to Christchurch to visit his son and meet his new grandchild a month ago, AFP news agency said, citing his brother, Mohsin Vora. 

The 56-year-old was from the Indian state of Gujarat. 

Ramiz Vora, 28

Vora’s son, Ramiz Vora, was also killed in the mosque shootings, the Indian embassy said. 

The 28-year-old and his wife had their first child in the week before the attack, according to reports in the Brisbane Times and Radio New Zealand

Ansi Alibava, 23

The Indian embassy in New Zealand said Ansi Alibava was also among those killed.

The Indian Express newspaper said the 23-year-old, who was from the southern state of Kerala, moved to the New Zealand a year ago with her husband, Abdul Nazar. They had married in 2017.

Alibava studied agriculture at Lincoln University, while her husband worked at a supermarket in Christchurch, the newspaper reported. Nazar was praying at a separate mosque at the time of the attack, according to Indian media reports.

Ozair Kadir, 25

The fifth Indian national confirmed dead in the mosque attacks was Ozair Kadir, a 25-year-old aspiring pilot from the city of Hyderabad, according to the Indian Social and Cultural Club in Christchurch.

Munir Suleiman, 68

In a post on Facebook, Egypt’s Ministry of Emigration said 68-year-old Munir Suleiman was among four Egyptians killed in the Christchurch attacks.

Ahmed Jamal al-Din Abdul Ghani, 68

Egypt’s Ministry of Emigration, citing authorities in New Zealand, also listed 68-year-old Ahmed Jamal al-Din Abdul Ghani as among those killed in Christchurch. It did not provide more details. 

Ashraf Morsi

Ashraf Morsi was the third Egyptian killed in New Zealand’s mosque shootings, Egypt’s Ministry of Emigration said. His age was not listed. He is survived by his wife Siham, the statement said. 

Ashraf al-Masri

Egypt’s migration ministry said Ashraf al-Masri was also killed in the Christchurch attacks but did not provide further details.

The statement said Tarek Elwassimy, Egypt’s ambassador to New Zealand, said the victim’s body would be transported back to Egypt or buried by Tuesday.

Matiullah Safi

The Afghan embassy in Canberra said Matiullah Safi, a second man of Afghan origin, had died in the attack.

The statement on Facebook did not give additional details, but condemned the attack as “barbaric” and said three other Afghan nationals were wounded.

Zeeshan Raza

Pakistan’s foreign ministry, in a Twitter post on Sunday, said Zeeshan Raza was also killed in the mosque attacks. It did not provide further details. 

Ghulam Hussain

Raza’s father, Ghulam Hussain, was also killed in the mosque shootings, said the Pakistani foreign ministry. 

Karam Bibi

Raza’s mother, Karam Bibi, was also killed, the ministry added. 

Faisal Mahmud contributed in this report from Dhaka, Bangladesh

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