Husband of slain woman forgives New Zealand mosque gunman

Farid Ahmed, above, said his wife was busy saving people during the attack. (AFP)
Updated 18 March 2019

Husband of slain woman forgives New Zealand mosque gunman

  • The husband says forgiveness is the best thing, among others
  • His wife was helping women and children exit from their designated hall

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand: Farid Ahmad loved his wife — and he loves and forgives the terrorist who killed her.

“The best thing is forgiveness, generosity, loving and caring, positivity,” said Farid, 59, confined to a wheelchair since a car accident in 1998.

His wife Husna, 44, was one of 50 people killed in Friday’s terrorist attack at Al-Noor mosque and Linwood Islamic Center in Christchurch, New Zealand. Brenton Tarrant, 28, an Australian white supremacist, has been charged with murder.

Ahmad says that if he could speak to Tarrant: “I would tell him that inside him he has great potential to be a generous person, to be a kind person, to be a person who would save people rather than destroy them.

“I want him to look for that positive attitude, and I hope and I pray for him, that he will be a great civilian one day. I don’t have any grudge.”

Ahmad and his wife moved to New Zealand from Bangladesh in 1990, and they have one daughter.

When the gunman opened fire at Al-Noor mosque, Husna helped people escape from the women’s and children’s hall. “She was screaming ‘Come this way, hurry up,’ and she took many children and ladies toward a safe garden,” Ahmad said.

“Then she was coming back to check on me, because I was in a wheelchair, and as she was approaching the gate she was shot. She was busy saving lives, forgetting about herself.”

As massive piles of flowers were laid near the mosques on Sunday and crowds of people of all faiths gathered to pay respects, more stories emerged of courage and grief.

Friends mourned Atta Elayyan, 33, originally from Kuwait, the goalkeeper for New Zealand’s futsal team. Ghassan Alaraji, 35, from Iraq, said he had seen footage of Atta trying to stop the gunman.

“That was my friend Atta,” he said. “He was trying to help and protect others from being shot. He was very, very brave.”

New Zealand Football chief executive Andrew Pragnell said: “My heart goes out to the futsal community. They are a very tight-knit group and Atta’s death will be devastating for all involved in the game. We feel their pain and their grief.”

Abdul Aziz, 48, from Afghanistan, confronted the gunman at the Linwood center and picked up a shotgun that he had dropped. “I chased him,” Aziz said. “He sat in his car and with the shotgun in my hands, I threw it through his window like an arrow. He just swore at me and took off.”


Bangladesh train collision kills 15, toll could rise

Updated 40 sec ago

Bangladesh train collision kills 15, toll could rise

  • Most passengers were asleep at the time of the crash
  • Railway accidents in Bangladesh happen relatively frequently, many at unsupervised crossings, and also because of the poor condition of tracks

DHAKA: Rescuers in Bangladesh were battling on Tuesday to pull passengers from mangled wreckage after a head-on collision of two trains killed at least 15 people and injured more than 40, officials said.
A train heading for the southern port city of Chittagong and one bound for Dhaka collided at around 3 a.m. (2100 GMT) in Brahmanbaria, about 100 km east of the capital, crumpling three compartments of the Chittagong-bound train.
“So far, 15 bodies have been recovered,” district official Hayat Ud Dowlah Khan said by telephone from the accident site, warning that the toll could rise during the rescue, mounted by fire, police, border guard and army officials.
“More than 40 injured people have been admitted in hospitals,” Khan said, adding that some were in critical condition.
Most passengers were asleep at the time of the crash.
“Suddenly there was a big bang. I saw people were screaming,” a passenger of the Dhaka-bound train said in television images from the site.
It was not immediately clear how the two trains came to be on the same track, and the government has ordered an investigation.
“One of the trains might have broken the signal, leading to the tragedy,” one police official, Shayamal Kanti Das, told reporters.
Railway accidents in Bangladesh happen relatively frequently, many at unsupervised crossings, and also because of the poor condition of tracks.