CHRISTCHURCH – A wheel-chaired senior Muslim leader at the Deans Ave Mosque in Christchurch, who lost his wife while trying to rescue him in the terror attack, said he has forgiven the terrorist.
“I love him to be honest,” Farid Ahmed told Newshub.
“I think probably he went through some trauma in his life, probably he wasn’t loved… I don’t hate him at all, I don’t hate him at all, not at all.”
Terrorist Brenton Harrison Tarrant killed 49 Muslim worshippers in Friday’s attacks as he targeted Al Noor and Linwood mosques.
The gunman had published his manifesto titled “The Great Replacement” on Twitter before carrying out the attacks and then live-streamed the entire shooting on social media platforms.
Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand Prime Minister, said the victims came from across the Muslim world, with Turkey, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia among the countries rendering consular assistance.
Ahmed’s wife, Husna Ahmed, ran classes for children at the mosque, while her husband gave sermons.
“She was probably more open than me; she could reach anyone, she was magnetic,” Farid Ahmed said.
“What she did when the shooting started, she organized the ladies and children to go out, she was leading them,” Ahmed says.
As the shooting started, Ahmed, who uses a wheelchair, couldn’t flee.
“I thought I was not going to come out, and I was prepared to die. That’s why at the moment I just thought, ‘No point in panicking, I’d better be calm and ready’.”
His wife helped women and children escape and ran back to help her husband, losing her life while trying to save him.
“Then when they were in a safe place, she was coming back for me – and that is the time when she was coming towards the gate, that is the time,” her husband says.
“She’s brave, and she gave her life-saving others,” he says.
His final message was that people can live together, no matter what they believe.
“If someone does bad to you, do good in return.”