A 42-year-old woman who was desperately trying to find and protect her paraplegic husband from a rampaging gunman in a Christchurch mosque was one of the 50 victims killed in a terrorist attack on Muslim worshippers on Friday.
Husne Ara Parvin, 42, was in the women’s section of the Al Noor mosque when she heard gunfire break out and ran for her husband, who is wheelchair bound.
“She died on the spot as she approached the men’s section to save her husband,” said her nephew, who spoke to Bangladesh media bdnews24.
Her husband, Farid Uddin Ahmed, who managed to push himself out of the building and away from harm, told of the devastating moments he realised his wife had been caught in the firing line.
“I could hear screaming and crying. I saw some people drop dead,” Mr Ahmed told reporters.
New Zealand authorities worked to identify and return the bodies of many victims to grieving families on the weekend after the alleged mass murderer, Australian man Brenton Tarrant, killed scores of Islamic worshippers in their place of prayer on their holy day.
The terrorist live-streamed the killings on social media.
But amid the grief, shock and heartbreak, stories of remarkable bravery are beginning to emerge.
Naeem Rashid, 50, a teacher from Pakistan, tried to tackle the gunman before being killed.
His bravery was caught on video that was broadcasted online by the alleged gunman.
“He was a brave person, and I’ve heard from a few people there. There were a few witnesses. They’ve said he saved a few lives there by trying to stop that guy,” his brother told the BBC.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said the country would recognise Mr Rashid with a posthumous award.
“Pakistan is proud of Mian Naeem Rashid, who was martyred trying to tackle the white supremacist terrorist and his courage will be recognised with a national award,” Mr Khan said on Twitter.
Haji-Daoud Nabi, 71, stood in front of another worshipper to protect them from bullets, according to witnesses.
“He jumped in the firing line to save somebody else’s life and he has passed away,” his son told Stuff.
Mr Nabi ran the Afghan Association, which helps refugees settle in New Zealand.
Afghani refugee Abdul Aziz, 48, who lived in Australia before moving to New Zealand, told media he picked up an eftpos machine as a weapon and ran after the gunman outside the Linwood mosque.
Mr Aziz then picked up a gun discarded by the attacker – one of a total five firearms – but found it was empty.
Instead, he threw the firearm at the gunman’s car and managed to smash the windshield, before the car sped off.
today at the islamic college of brisbane a prayer service was held to honour the lives lost during the christchurch terror attack. alhamdulillah, so many people of all different cultures and religions came to pay their respects. such a heartwarming experience #standtogether ❤️ pic.twitter.com/oX8k9TEU07
— naadiya omar (@naadiyao) March 17, 2019
Mourning a tragic loss
Three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim and four-year-old Abdullahi Dirie are among the dead. The oldest victim was in his 70s.
Not all victims have been publicly identified, but families have been notified of suspected deaths.
A four-year-old girl remains in a critical condition, one of 12 people who remained in intensive care on Sunday.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said bodies of the victims would begin to be released to families from Sunday evening, with the last to be handed over by Wednesday.
New Zealanders and Australians – and the world – have been mourning.
Religious and state leaders around the globe have been united by their condemnation of the attack.
The vigil at Wellington's basin reserve. So much sadness. But also so much solidarity and community. pic.twitter.com/91yQ98zhPz
— William Levack (@DrLevack) March 17, 2019
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have both visited mosques over the weekend.
Mr Morrison, the Grand Mufti of Australia Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, and other leaders joined together for an interfaith service at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney on Sunday.
Members of the public “from any denomination” were invited to pray at the service of remembrance.
We all have a responsibility to show our Muslim brothers and sisters what we stand for, who we stand with pic.twitter.com/Hz8RDpcFoH
— Charlee-Sue (@CharleeSueFrail) March 17, 2019
Vigils and prayer services were held across the country.
Hundreds of people joined together at the New Zealand consulate in Sydney on Sunday and heard from activists as well as Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi.
A vigil in Wellington was attended by thousands of people on Sunday evening.
A vigil will also be held in Melbourne on Monday night at the State Library of Victoria.