Saturday, May 25th, 2019

Dead, injured or missing: Victims of Christchurch begin to be identified

‘Staying as strong as possible’

The daughter of retired Christchurch engineer Ali Elmadani has confirmed he was killed while worshiping at the Masjod Al Noor mosque in Deans Avenue yesterday.

Maha Elmadani told Stuff on Friday evening that she had been told her father was one of the 49 people killed in the terrorist attack.

Maha Elmadani, a Christchurch based graphic designer, was currently flying back to New Zealand where her mother and younger brother were mourning the loss of Ali Elmadani and other community members.

“He considered New Zealand home and never thought something like this would happen here,” she said.

“[My mother} is staying as strong as possible.”

Ali Elmadani has been named as one of the victims on the Christchurch shooting. 

“My younger brother isn’t doing too well with the news.”

Elmadani and his wife immigrated from the United Arab Emirates in 1998.

His daughter said her father had always said to be strong, so that was what she was trying to do.
“My Dad always told us to be strong and patient so that’s what we are all trying to do. For his sake.”

Three-year-old boy feared dead

The brother of a three-year-old boy feared dead in the Christchurch terror attack says he feels “hatred” for the man allegedly responsible.

On Friday, a man entered a mosque in central Christchurch and opened fire on people gathered inside the building. A second shooting happened at a mosque in Linwood.

Three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim is missing after the Christchurch shooting.

Abdi Ibrahim was at the Deans Avenue mosque with his father and three-year-old brother, Mucad Ibrahim, when the shooting started.

He got out of the mosque as fast as he could, while his father pretended he was dead after he was shot, then fled.

No-one has seen Mucad since the shooting, his brother said.


The family had been to Christchurch Hospital and looked through the list of people there. His little brother was nowhere to be seen.

“We’re most likely thinking he’s one of the people who has died at the mosque … at this stage everyone’s saying he’s dead.

“It’s been pretty tough, a lot of people are ringing me asking if you need help. It’s been hard at the moment, [we’ve] never dealt with this.”

Mucad was “energetic, playful and liked to smile and laugh a lot”, Abdi Ibrahim said.

He said he felt “hatred” for the alleged shooter, Brenton Tarrant.

‘Shock, devastatation and horror’

Syrian refugee Khaled Mustafa and his family thought they had found a safe haven from death and torture when they arrived in New Zealand only a few months ago.

But Mustafa was killed while praying at the Deans Avenue mosque in Christchurch on Friday, Syrian Solidarity New Zealand spokesman Ali Akil said.

His son Hamza, who is about 16, is missing, and his son Zaid, who is about 13, is in Christchurch Hospital where he underwent a six-hour operation last night, Akil said.


Mustafa’s wife and daughter, who were not at the mosque on Friday, were in “total shock, devastation and horror”, Akil said.

They had “survived atrocities” in their home country and “arrived here in a safe haven only to be killed in the most atrocious way”.

“They were just looking for a safe place. Unfortunately we can’t claim that New Zealand is a safe place anymore.”

Fears for Cashmere teen

Christchurch shooting victim Sayyad Milne, 14, has been described as a good-natured, kind teenager with dreams of being an international footballer

The year 10 Cashmere High School student was in the Al Noor mosque, on Deans Avenue, for Friday prayers when the attack started.

His family is still waiting for official news.

Brydie Henry, Sayyad’s half sister, said their father, John Milne, told her late Friday night that Sayyad was last seen “lying on the floor of the bloody mosque, bleeding from his lower body”.

Sayyad’s mother, Noraini, was also in the mosque but managed to escape, Henry said. The teenager has two other siblings, 15-year-old twins Shuayb and Cahaya.

Shooting victim Sayyad Milne. His family is still waiting for official news.

“They’re all at home just waiting. They’re just waiting and they don’t know what to do,” Tauranga-based Henry said.

“Their thoughts are it’s not good news. They’re very worried.”

Henry, 42, said Sayyad grew up in Corsair Bay, near Lyttelton, where he attended primary school.

She described him as an “all-round good guy” – a sporty teenager who played football and futsal soccer.

“He’s a regular, typical, Kiwi kid.”

Henry said she was “devastated” by the attack and that it happened in New Zealand.

Sayyad Milne, 14, was a “a regular, typical, Kiwi kid”.

“They were good people, just living good lives. It’s just awful.”

Sayyad’s sister, Cahaya, said her brother had dreams of becoming an international footballer. He played goalie.

He was meant to play in a futsal tournament in Wellington in two weeks, which he was “really looking forward to”, she said.

“He was a loving and kind brother and will be greatly missed.”

‘We have to be strong’

Aya Al-Umari is clinging to hope that her older brother is still alive.

Hussain Al-Umari’s family haven’t heard from him since a gunman entered the Majid Al-Noor on Deans Ave, Christchurch, shortly after 1.30pm on Friday.

Hussain, 35, was a regular at the mosque.

Aya, 33, and her parents spent hours at Christchurch Hospital overnight Friday, hoping they would learn he was among the injured.

Janna Ezat and Hazim Al-Umari are desperately waiting for news of their son

When the names of those being treated there were read out about 3am on Saturday, Hussain’s wasn’t one of them.

His family have registered him as missing.

“We are just praying and trying to be patient,” Aya said early on Saturday afternoon. “I feel for those who already know the fate of their loved ones. We have to be strong and stay together.”

Hussain’s family moved to New Zealand from the United Arab Emirates 22 years ago.

While dozens of people are still missing, the faces of some of the victims from Friday’s right-wing terrorist attack in Christchurch have begun to emerge.

He had dinner with his parents on Thursday night. On Friday, after the shooting, they searched everywhere for him without luck. His car was not at his house.

On Friday night, his parents – Janna Ezat, who’s renowned as an artist overseas, and Hazim Al-Umari – visited the police cordon at the intersection of Deans Ave and Riccarton Rd hoping to find out what had happened to their son.

Hussain Al-Umari (left) pictured with his mother Janna Ezat. Hussain is feared

They were comforted by the fact it was a “holy Friday” and if he was dead “he will be safe with God”.

They said Hussain had worked in the travel industry and had recently lost his job.

Haji-Daoud Nabi, a 71-year old man, was one of the 49 killed in the attack.

Tragic end in search for father

A son’s search for his 71-year-old father has ended in tragedy with news he died after a mass shooting in Christchurch.


Haji-Daoud Nabi was shot as he tried to shield another person from the gunman at the Deans Ave mosque, his son Omar Nabi said. His father ran the Afghan Association.

Speaking outside the High Court in Christchurch on Saturday, where a 28-year-old man charged with murder appeared, Omar Nabi told Stuff: “I got told by my best friend’s father to him, that he leaped on somebody else to save their life.

“He jumped in the firing line to save somebody else’s life and he has passed away.”

Omar Nabi, who is 43 and lives in Burwood with his parents, said he did not know what had happened to the person his father had tried to save.

Asked how he felt about his father’s sacrifice, Omar Nabi said: “Your time is up but you’re helping someone else to live because they’re younger – their life has to go on.

“I think he ran into that firing order to save somebody.

“He normally pushes somebody out of the way if anything [happens] like this – ‘get away, go’ – because he’s used to Afghanistan.

“Just helping people is his main thing. It makes me feel like he wanted other people to live.

“To die in the Masjid, to die in the mosque, if something like this happens the golden gates open for you.”

Omar Nabi said he was “outraged” at what had happened.

Haji-Daoud Nabi is one of 49 people killed in the Christchurch

“I honestly thought somebody was carrying a water pistol – this is New Zealand, you know – or a showing of a pellet gun or something.

“We feel safe here because it’s multicultural, we’re accepted no matter who we are.

“There are a lot of other people in this life who just want to live for who they are.”

He last saw his father at breakfast on Friday morning. Omar Nabi was due to attend the prayers on Friday but was unable to go.

Following the shooting he tried calling his father several times but could not get hold of him.

About 4.30am on Saturday, he was told his father had not made it out of the mosque alive.

Nabi said doctors at Christchurch Hospital told him anyone who was not listed at the hospital was likely still in the mosque.

He said he could use a million words to describe his father.

Yama Nabi was running late for mosque, where his father Haji-Daoud Nabi died shielding another person from the shooter. Credit:Abigail Dougherty/Stuff

“He was a man with a lot of talents … and wisdom he shared to use as life skills.

“He’s a very humble man who has helped a lot of people.”

Omar Nabi said his father would be buried, but he would like to take him back to Afghanistan.

Desperate wait for news

Two Cashmere High School students, brothers Zaid and Hamza Mustafa, were injured in the shooting and taken to hospital.

Amir Yasir saw the shooter leave the Deans Ave mosque and told his father, Muhammad Amin Nasir, to run.

They both fled, but Nasir was shot. Surgeons later removed three bullets from his body and were optimistic about his prospects, his son said.

Nasir is believed to be the last person shot by the gunman in the Dean Aves area.

Syed Jahandad Ali’s wife says he’s missing after the shooting at the Deans Ave mosque in Christchurch.

Amna Ali last spoke to her husband, Syed Jahandad Ali, on Friday morning and has not heard from him since. One of his colleagues told her they had left work at 1pm on Friday to head to the Deans Ave mosque.

Zuhair Darwish’s brother, Kamel Darwish, attended the mosque during the shooting and is missing.

He said he went to the Deans Ave cordon when the incident unfolded and police directed him to Christchurch Hospital, but his brother wasn’t there, so he returned to the cordon.

One of the pioneers of the Muslim Association of Canterbury is among those feared dead following Friday’s terrorist attack.

Abdelfattah Qasem, 59, the association’s former secretary, has not been seen since a gunman entered the Majid Al-noor on Deans Ave.

Qasem, who was born in Palestine, was considered an elder of the Muslim community in Christchurch.

He is listed as missing online and Stuff has spoken to people who were in the mosque during the shooting and saw him gravely injured.

Muslim Association of Canterbury president Shagaf Khan said on Saturday afternoon that police had yet to provide a list of those whose bodies remained at the mosque.

Five Indian nationals are still missing a day after the terror attack, the High Commission of India has confirmed.

Paramjeet Singh, second secretary consular and visa at the commission, said two other Indian nationals had been injured and were recovering in hospital.

The commission had set up help lines for friends and family of the missing and was providing support to them, Singh said.

“I’ve been receiving a continuous stream of calls from friends and family since yesterday,” Singh said.

There was no confirmed information that Indian nationals had been killed in the attack, he said.

“But as the time passes and we’re not able to find our people safe one starts thinking of the worst.

“It is tough for the families. We hope they can find their near and dear ones.”

Red Cross has started a missing persons list. There are dozens of people listed as missing from an array of countries, including India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Jordan and Pakistan.

Matilda reports breaking news for The Age