Christchurch: New Zealand, a country normally calm and peaceful, witnessed its worst ever peacetime mass killing in the country after gunmen shot at two mosques in Christchurch, killing 49 people and wounding over 40 more. Many are still struggling to come to terms with what exactly hit the city. In fact, some of the seven worshippers who lost their lives at Linwood were among the most wholehearted donors in the community, spending their own personal time and efforts to help in fundraising activities.
At the deadly rampage, the shooter struck two mosques the Al Noor Mosque, where 41 people were killed, and the Linwood Mosque, which witnessed seven deaths from the shooting. One more person died in the hospital, the police said.
While waiting to bury the dead, Egypt-born Ibrahim AbdelHalim is one such person who has still not been able to come to terms with the violence that was wrought upon worshippers.
“There was blood everywhere. Everything was out of control,” AbdelHalim, imam of Linwood Mosque, said.
AbdelHalim, one of those who worked for the community, had sought to refresh the mosque after a trust bought it over last year.
Fijian-Indian donor also lost life
A Fijian-Indian from the country, who would often bring food boxes from his restaurant during mosque donation drives, also lost his life in the shootings.
“They are dear to me, these are people who offer us work for free,” AbdelHalim said.
“It was a very bad day, not just all of us, all of New Zealand.”
“I did not go to the prayer yesterday due to work… but received a call from my friends and rushed to the spot,” Mohammad Kamruzzaman, originally from Bangladesh, said.
“Five of (our Bangladeshi friends) are still missing, only Allah knows where they are. We have lost… a guardian lady for our community, who taught children the Koran for free. It feels like we have lost a parent.”