The wife of a man who was killed in the Christchurch mosque attacks has recalled watching her husband tackle the shooter in the harrowing livestream he posted to Facebook.
Ambreen Naeem couldn’t see her husband Naeem Rashid’s name on the injured list at the hospital after 51 Muslims were killed in Brenton Tarrant’s meticulously-planned gun rampage at two mosques in New Zealand last year.
Naeem ran at Tarrant from a corner of the room, coming to within feet of the gunman before Tarrant swung round his AR-15 and fired four shots at point-blank range.
Naeem then crashed into Tarrant who fell to one knee, before picking himself up and shooting Naeem again. The victim’s brave attempt to tackle the gunman was captured on Tarrant’s live-streamed video of the attack.
Appearing on the BBC2 documentary In The Face Of Terror, which airs tonight, Ambreen, who also lost her 21-year-old son Talha in the massacre, said she ‘loved her husband more than ever’ after seeing the ‘bravery on his face’.
Ambreen Naeem (pictured) told how her husband Naeem Rashid was killed while attempting to disarm the terrorist at the Al-Noor Mosque far right attack in Christchurch
Naeem Rashid (pictured) tackled Brenton Tarrant during his meticulously-planned gun rampage at two mosques in New Zealand last year which killed 51 Muslims
‘As soon as I saw the video I saw Naeem,’ she said. ‘He tried to tackle the terrorist; I saw the determination in his eyes and the expression of bravery on his face and I loved him more than I’ve always loved him.’
The mother first heard of the attacks after a phone call from her sister, and then a friend, who advised ‘mustering up the courage’ to watch the video after she still hadn’t heard from her husband and son.
She recalled: ‘When my sister called me she told me, “There’s been a shooting in the mosque and a lot of people have died,” and she said “Where are Naeem and Talha?”
‘I tried to call them but they were not picking up the phone; we went to the hospital, I saw the first injured list, their name wasn’t there. I still had hope.
Ambreen, who also lost her 21-year-old son Talha in the massacre, told that she ‘loved him more than ever’ after seeing the ‘bravery on his face’
‘But at nine o’clock she was telling me if I wanted to see the video. I did want to, I never want to see violence but I thought I would muster the courage and thought I should watch it.’
Ambreen was seen visiting the grave of her late family members, which is in a specially constructed cemetery on the outskirts of Christchurch.
‘It was something unimaginable,’ she said of the video. ‘I lost half of my family because of some person’s hate. I will see him in heaven. It’s just the body, he’s always alive in our memories.’
Naeem, 50, who was a teacher, were among nine Pakistanis killed during the mosque shootings. Pakistan honoured him posthumously with an award for bravery while Pakistani PM Imran Khan said the country was ‘proud of Mian Naeem Rashid who was martyred trying to tackle the white supremacist terrorist’.
Australian Tarrant, 29, was sentenced to life without parole after pleading guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one count of terrorism.
The shooting was the deadliest in New Zealand’s modern history, and the government responded by banning most semi-automatic weapons.
Another survivor of the attack is former Imam Farid Ahmed, who lost his wife of 26 years, Husna Ahmed, when she was killed at the Al-Noor Mosque in the attacks
Another survivor of the attack is former Imam Farid Ahmed, who lost his wife of 26 years, Husna Ahmed, when she was killed at the Al-Noor Mosque in the attacks.
‘Friday, Muslims come together in the mosque, in any mosque on Friday you will see it’s full,’ Farid explained as he remembered the attack.
‘From the hallway, I heard [shooting] – after a few seconds I saw people were running out, some of them had blood.’
Wheelchair bound Farid admitted that, unable to escape the mosque at first, he feared ‘that was his day’.
‘It was chaotic and everyone was in panic,’ he said. ‘There was no room for me to approach the door and get out with my wheelchair.
‘I just stayed there alone and thought, probably that was my day. I noticed the exit door was empty and I gently went out.’
Wheelchair bound Farid, pictured on the BBC2 documentary, admitted that, unable to escape the mosque at first, he feared ‘that was his day’
While Farid escaped, he soon discovered that his wife Husna had been killed when returning to the mosque to attempt to find him, after she had already helped lead several other women and children to safety.
‘I went to check the ladies room, if there were any casualties, but I did not find anyone,’ he said. ‘An eye witness told me when the shooting started, Husna decided to lead the women and children out of the gate, so I thought they must all be safe.
‘It was chaotic, I could not communicate with anyone to find out about Husna. The police officers said, “Farid I have news for you”, they said I could go home, but she will not come home anymore.
‘Husna took many people to safety, she was safe too, she came back, she was trying to save me.’
The victims of the Christchurch attack included (top row, from left) Naeem Rashid, Lilik Abdul Hamid, Ansi Alibava, Maheboob Khokar, Syed Jahandad Ali, Zulfirman Syah (who was not killed but took a bullet to save his son), Osama Adnan, Amjad Hamid; (second row, from left) Haroon Mahmood, Mohammad Atta Elayyan, Khaled Mustafa, Sayyad Milne, Haji Daoud Nabi, Farhaj Ahsan, Linda Armstrong, Mojammel Hoq; (third row, from left) Abdulfatteh Qasem, Mucad Ibrahim, Mohammed Omar Faruk, Husne Ara Parvin, Ozair Kadir, Talha Naeem, Tariq Omar, Ramiz Vora; (bottom row, from left) Kamel Darwish, Arifbhai Vora, Sohail Shadid, Abdus Samad, Hussein al-Umari, Ahmed Jahangir (who was injured), Ali Elmadani, Musa Vali Suleman Patel. Not pictured in this montage are Hamza Mustafa, Mohamed Moosid Mohamedhosen, Areeb Ahmed, Ashraf Ali, Muse Nur Awale, Zakariya Bhuiya, Karam Bibi, Ghulam Hussain, Muhammad Zeeshan Raza, Abdukadir Elmi, Ahmed Gamal Eldin Abdel-Ghany, Mohsen Mohammed Al Harbi, Junaid Ismail, Mohammad Imran Khan, Muhammad Haziq Mohd-Tarmizi, Hussein Moustafa, Matiullah Safi, Mounir Guirgis Soliman, Ashraf El-Moursy Ragheb, Zekeriya Tuyan and Ashraf Alie