Incredible stories of heroism have emerged in the wake of the horrific mosque attacks Friday in Christchurch, New Zealand, where 49 worshippers were killed and dozens more injured. While the motives and identities of the three suspected assailants remain unknown, we can begin the healing process by honoring the brave individuals who demonstrated bold love and immense courage in the face of pure evil.
A good guy with a gun
According to local news outlets, at least 30 of those killed Friday were attending the Masjid Al Noor mosque, while at least 10 others were killed at the Linwood Masjid Mosque. The death toll likely would have been much higher had it not been for a brave worshipper with a gun who chased one of the gunmen out of the Linwood mosque.
The New Zealand Herald reported that a “well known Muslim local” man “returned fire with a rifle or shotgun,” firing two shots at the attackers as they ran away. When police arrived, the armed hero noted that he fired in “self defence,” describing the suspects and their vehicle to the authorities.
A gun-grabbing hero
During the same attack on Linwood mosque, another worshipper managed to tackle one of the gunmen and seize his weapon before the terrorists finally fled the scene. Witness Syed Mazharuddin told the New Zealand Herald that his friend likely saved countless lives.
“People got feared (sic.) and there was screaming around and I tried to take cover,” he said.
Mazharuddin noted that the gunmen entered near where some elderly people were praying and began shooting indiscriminately. Moments later, a young worshipper made an effort to stop the killers in their tracks.
“The young guy who usually takes care of the mosque … he saw an opportunity and pounced on [the gunman] and took his gun,” Mazharuddin said. “The hero tried to chase and he couldn’t find the trigger in the gun … he ran behind him but there were people waiting for him in the car and he fled.”
A fearless martyr
One of the suspected attackers in Friday’s slayings streamed a 17-minute-long Facebook live video while he shot at innocent prayer-goers at the Masjid Al Noor mosque. But seven minutes into the disturbing video, an unarmed worshipper can be seen charging the gunman, tackling him to the ground, Newsweek reported.
The brave individual is believed to have been killed in his heroic attempt to protect fellow innocents.
“The gunman may have shot him as he made contact and the worshipper is seen falling to the ground. The gunman then turns as he stands up and shoots the worshipper’s apparently lifeless body at point-blank range.”
Journalist Muhammad Lila was among the first to commend the heroic martyr on Twitter.
Halfway through the New Zealand shooting, as dozens around him lay dead, a single unarmed worshipper rushed the shooter, doing whatever he could to make him stop.
Some people will publicize the villain.
— Muhammad Lila (@MuhammadLila) March 15, 2019
“Halfway through the New Zealand shooting, as dozens around him lay dead, a single unarmed worshipper rushed the shooter, doing whatever he could to make him stop. Some people will publicize the villain. Let’s remember the heroes instead,” he wrote.
An act of love
It’s hard to imagine what one would do when faced with the horror of such a bloody attack. One victim of the Masjid Al Noor shooting is gaining international attention for the remarkable response he uttered moments before his death.
According to Mirror UK, the unidentified man was standing by the mosque’s entrance as the gun-wielding assailants approached. In an exchange caught on one of the attackers’ GoPro camera, the worshipper greeted the killer with the words, “Hello brother.”
Social media users from around the world applauded the man, who is believed to have been killed, for his final act of bravery and love.
Today is chaos. But one incident stood out.
Final words of the first Muslim man to die were “hello brother”.
— Arpit (@itsarpit_7) March 15, 2019
The first victim of the terrorist attack in #Christchurch, New Zealand is seen standing by the door of the masjid. He is heard saying "Hello brother" to the gunman before he is brutally gunned down.
His last word to his killer was "brother".
— Rafiq (@RafiqIbnJubair) March 15, 2019
What were the first words spoken to the #NewZealand shooter?
As he approached the entrance of the mosque, with his assault rifle out, a Muslim man approaches him and says, “Hello, Brother”.
Those welcoming words were his last before he was gunned down.
— Kayem ?? (@thisisKayem) March 15, 2019
The last words of the first victim of the Christchurch shooting was “Hello Brother.” Hate is not being able to recognize that other human beings are your Brothers & Sisters. #NewZealand
— Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) March 15, 2019
Please pray for the Christchurch community as they work to make sense of this tragedy and begin the painful grieving process. May the world remember and seek to emulate the bravery of these good individuals.