NEWS
16/03/2019 21:11 GMT | Updated 16/03/2019 21:19 GMT

Christchurch Mosque Shootings: Everything We Know About Those Feared Killed

Desperate families have appealed for information about missing loved ones.

The number of people killed in the New Zealand mosque attacks has risen to 50, authorities have confirmed.

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said on Saturday that 36 people remain in Christchurch hospital, two of whom are critical. One child is at Starship, a children’s hospital in Auckland.

Bush said the 50th victim was discovered as investigators began the process of moving bodies from the two Christchurch mosques on Saturday.

It came after the suspected attacker, Brenton Tarrant, appeared in court charged with murder over the slayings, described as an act of terror.

Meanwhile, more details about those feared killed and those wounded came to light as the country, known for its idyllic peace, grappled with the reality of Friday’s incident. Here is some of what we know about the victims:

The dead 

REUTERS/Edgar Su
Omar Nabi speaks to the media about losing his father Haji Daoud in the mosque attacks, at the district court in Christchurch.

Names of those who died in the attacks have yet to be officially confirmed by authorities, as detectives continue efforts to identify those killed as well as piece together what happened.

Yet officials have said that most of those killed were new immigrants to New Zealand, with some having fled conflict zones, including war-torn Syria.

And now family members have begun speaking out about loved ones who have died.

Husne Ara Parvin, 42

Parvin died being struck by bullets while trying to shield her wheelchair-bound husband, Farid Uddin Ahmed, her nephew Mahfuz Chowdhury told The Daily Star , a Bangladesh newspaper.

Chowdhury said Uddin had been ill for years and Parvin took him to the mosque every other Friday. She had taken him to the mosque for men while she went to the one for women. Mahfuz said relatives in New Zealand told him when the shootings began, Parvin rushed to her husband’s mosque to protect him. He survived.

The Bangladeshi couple had moved to New Zealand sometime after 1994, Chowdhury said.

Naeem Rashid, 50, and Talha Rashid, 21

As the shootings unfolded, Naeem Rashid is seen on video trying to tackle the gunman, according to Rashid’s brother, Khurshid Alam.

“He was a brave person, and I’ve heard from a few people there, there were few witnesses . they’ve said he saved a few lives there by trying to stop that guy,” Alam told the BBC .

Rashid’s son, Talha Rashid, is also among the dead. Pakistan’s Ministry of Public Affairs confirmed their deaths in a tweet .

The elder Rashid was a teacher in Christchurch and was from Abbottabad, Pakistan. His son was 11 when his family moved to New Zealand. He had a new job and planned to get married.

Haji Daoud Nabi, 71

Nabi moved his family to New Zealand in 1979 to escape the Soviet-Afghan war. Days before the shootings, his son, Omar, recalled his father speaking about the importance of unity.

“My father said how important it is to spread love and unity among each other and protect every member of the society we live in,” Omar told Al-Jazeera .

Omar told the news network his father ran an Afghan Association and helped refugees settle in to a new country.

“He used to make them feel at home,” Omar said.

Abdus Samad and Kishowara Begum

Husband and wife Abdus Samad and Kishowara Begum both died in the shooting.

According to BDNews24.com, Abdus was a professor and former faculty member of the Bangladesh Agriculture University.

His younger brother Habibur Rahman, said their elder brother had died during Bangladesh’s Liberation War in the early 1970s.

“Now we’ve lost another brother in terrorist attack.”

Junaid Mortara, 35

Javed Dadabhai was seen near a Christchurch college mourning for his cousin, 35-year-old Junaid Mortara, who is believed to have died in the first mosque attack.

Husna Ahmed, 45

Farid Ahmed has said he refuses to turn his back on his adopted home, despite losing his 45-year-old wife, Husna Ahmed, in the Al Noor mosque attack. They had separated to go to the bathroom when the shooting happened.

The gunman live-streamed the massacre on the internet, and Ahmed later saw a video of his wife being shot. A police officer confirmed she died.

Despite the horror, Ahmed – originally from Bangladesh – still considers New Zealand to be a great country.

“I believe that some people, purposely, they are trying to break down the harmony we have in New Zealand with the diversity,” he said.

“But they are not going to win. They are not going to win. We will be harmonious.”

Syed Areeb Ahmed

Syeed Areeb Ahmed had recently moved from his house in Karachi, Pakistan for a job in New Zealand to help support his family back home. On Saturday, Pakistan’s foreign ministry informed his family that he was among those killed during the mosque attack.

One of his uncles, Muhammad Muzaffar Khan, described him as deeply religious, praying five times a day. But education was always his first priority, Khan said.

“He had done Charted Accountancy from Pakistan. He was the only son to his parents. He had only one younger sister … He had only started his career, but the enemies took his life.”

Family members, relatives, and friends have gathered at Ahmed’s house to express their condolences. His body is expected to arrive there in coming days.

The wounded

ASSOCIATED PRESS
A wounded Farid Ahmed, 59, was seen in a wheelchair at an information centre for families on Saturday.

As of Saturday, and as many families still wait to find out if their loved ones are alive, others know their relatives are receiving medical care.

Mohammed Elyan, 60s 

Mohammed Elyan, a Jordanian in his 60s who co-founded one of the mosques in 1993, was among those wounded, as was his son, Atta, who is in his 30s. That’s according to Muath Elyan, Mohammed’s brother, who said he spoke to Mohammed’s wife after the shooting.

Muath said his brother helped establish the mosque a year after arriving in New Zealand, where he teaches engineering at a university and runs a consultancy. He said his brother last visited Jordan two years ago.

“He used to tell us life was good in New Zealand and its people are good and welcoming. He enjoyed freedom there and never complained about anything,” Muath told The Associated Press. “I’m sure this bloody crime doesn’t represent the New Zealanders.”

Elin Daraghmeh, 4, and Waseem Daraghmeh, 33

A Jordanian man says his 4-year-old niece is fighting for her life after being wounded. Sabri Daraghmeh said by phone from Jordan on Saturday that the girl, Elin, remains “in the danger phase” and that her father, Waseem — Sabri’s brother — is in stable condition.

Daraghmeh says 33-year-old Waseem moved to New Zealand five years ago and that he described it as the “safest place one could ever live in.”

The Daraghmehs are of Palestinian origin, but have Jordanian citizenship, like several others listed as Jordanian nationals among those killed and wounded in the mosque attacks.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said Saturday that at least four Palestinians were among those killed, but acknowledged they could have been counted by Jordan or other countries.

Farid Ahmed, 59

A wounded Farid Ahmed, 59, was seen in a wheelchair at an information centre for families and friends of those feared killed or injured in the attack.

Adeeb Sami, 52

As the rampage inside the mosque began, Sami was shot in the back as he dove to protect his two sons, Abdullah, 29, and Ali, 23, the Gulf News reported.

“My dad is a real hero. He got shot in the back near his spine in an attempt to shield my brothers but he didn’t let anything happen to them,” Adeeb’s daughter, Heba, 30, told the Gulf News.

Sami, described by the Gulf News as a Dubai-based New Zealander of Iraqi origin, underwent surgery to remove the bullet and his daughter said he’s recovering.

With files from the Associated Press news agency.