Two brothers who lost their father in the Christchurch terror attack have revealed he tried to save another person from the gunman in his final moments.
Haji Daoud, 71, is among the 49 people killed by accused gunman Brenton Harrison Tarrant at two mosques on New Zealand’s south island on Friday.
Omar Nabi, 43, and Yama Nabi, 45, shared photos of their elderly father outside the Christchurch District Court on Saturday where Australian-born Tarrant made a brief appearance.
The heartbroken brothers told reporters how their father had bravely attempted to protect another worshipper as bullets rained throughout the Al Noor Majid mosque.
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Omar Nabi (right) and Yama Nabi (left) shared photos of their elderly father Haji Daoud, 71, who tried to protect other worshippers when Brenton Harrison Tarrant opened fire inside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch on Friday
Omar (pictured) said his father was one of the first Muslims in New Zealand, opening the Tuam Street mosque in Christchurch, after discovering the country was a ‘slice of paradise’
The terrorists opened fire at two mosques and a hospital in Christchurch, while a bomb was also found in the city’s south
‘I got told by my best friend’s father to him, that he leaped on somebody else to save their life,’ Omar told Stuff.
Mr Nabi, a father-of-five, moved from Afghanistan to New Zealand in 1977 and set up a new life as one of the ‘first Muslims’ in the country.
But the family’s peaceful existence in the small island nation was forever changed when the brothers were told their father hadn’t survived his visit to Friday prayers.
‘I was told at 4.15pm that whoever did not make it … to the high school, they were deceased at the church, they were still there, the bodies were there,’ said Omar, who was running late.
Authorities have confirmed at least 49 people were killed in the massacre, the worst shooting in the country’s history. At least 40 were hurt, including a five-year-old girl, and a 28-year-old Australian man will face court today charged with murder.
Omar’s older brother Yama teared up recalling how he ran toward the mosque after a friend told him there had been a shooting there.
‘That’s when a brother said there was a shooting at the mosque. I went running toward (it)’, he said, before trailing off.
Omar said his father was one of the first Muslims in New Zealand, opening the Tuam Street mosque in Christchurch.
He said after discovering the country was a ‘slice of paradise’, Haji had dedicated much of his life to helping refugees.
‘He gave them free stuff, he gave them free clothing, he gave them free food.
‘He went out of his way to help them. He wouldn’t ask for a cent.
‘This is not on man, not on.’
Omar said he never would have expected this to happen in New Zealand: ‘This is New Zealand, man, multicultural … because it’s so calm and relaxed.
Timeline of terror: How the Christchurch shootings unfolded
Friday March 15, 1.30pm local time (12.30am GMT): Gunman identifying himself as Brenton Tarrant live-streams mass shooting inside the Al Noor Mosque as Friday prayers are underway. The Bangladesh cricket team were on their way to the mosque at the time.
Another shooting takes place at a mosque in Linwood, 3.5 miles to the east.
1.40pm: Police respond to reports of shots fired in central Christchurch. People are urged to stay indoors and report any suspicious behaviour. Shortly afterwards, all schools in the city are placed into lockdown.
2.10pm: Police confirm they are attending an ‘evolving situation’ involving an ‘active shooter’
3.30pm: Two explosive devices attached to a car are found and disarmed by a bomb squad at Strickland Street, not far from the Al Noor Mosque.
4pm: One person confirmed to be in custody. New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush says there have been ‘multiple fatalities’ at two locations – both mosques. Mosques across New Zealand urged to shut their doors.
4.10pm: Prime minister Jacinda Ardern calls it ‘one of New Zealand’s darkest days’.
5.30pm: Mr Bush says three men and one woman are in custody. Australian prime minister Scott Morrison confirms one of those arrested is Australian.
7.30pm: Ms Ardern says 40 are dead and more than 20 are seriously injured but confirms the offender is in custody
National security threat level is lifted from low to high.
7.45pm: Britomart train station in central Auckland is evacuated after bags are found unattended. The bags were deemed not suspicious.
9pm: Death toll rises to 49 and Police Commissioner Bush reveals a man in his late 20s has been charged with murder.
Police are not looking for any named or identified suspects, he says, but adds that it would be ‘wrong to assume that there is no-one else’.
11.50pm: Investigation extends 240 miles to the south where homes are evacuated around a ‘location of interest’ in Dunedin.
Australian-born extremist Brenton Tarrant (pictured), 28, is among the three suspected killers
Witnesses reported hearing dozens of shots at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on the country’s South Island. Pictured is a still from a live-stream of the shooting
‘We’re not like this. None of us are like this.
‘Our leading prayer is for you people, not to pray about give me a car, give me a house – no – for other people, this is what we pray for.
‘It’s my duty to make sure you get your family, your siblings, to heaven, that’s my message.’
He said about followers on the Islamic faith: ‘We’re not terrorists mate, we’re here to help every one of your guys reach paradise.’
The brothers have not had police confirmation their father is dead, just a warning he has likely died.
Omar said his feelings were ‘outrageous’ and he had come to court because he desperately wanted closure.
He hopes to take his father back to his homeland of Afghanistan. Omar said he did ‘not feel good at all’ about the uncertainty surrounding his father’s fate.
He said his father’s body was unlikely to be released to the family within 24 hours, as is Islamic custom, due to the ongoing and likely exhaustive investigation.
People taking part in a vigil at the New Zealand War Memorial on Hyde Park Corner following the mosque attacks in Christchurch
Local residents leave floral tributes at Deans Avenue near the Al Noor Mosque on March 16, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand. At least 49 people are confirmed dead
Floral tributes are left before dawn at Deans Avenue near the Al Noor Mosque on March 16, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand
A woman places flowers at a make-shift memorial near the mosque in Christchurch
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