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‘We showed to humanity that we can sacrifice our lives to save others’, says Christchurch hero

‘We showed to humanity that we can sacrifice our lives to save others’, says Christchurch hero
Afghan-origin Wahabzadeh gets New Zealand Cross for his valor in confronting terror attack in 2019

By Recep Sakar

MELBOURNE, Australia (AA) – Abdul Aziz Wahabzadeh, an Afghan-origin man who received New Zealand’s highest bravery award for his valor in confronting and chasing Brenton Tarrant, the terrorist who attacked worshippers in a mosque in Christchurch in 2019, said Friday that “the terrorist was the loser and Muslims were the winners.”

New Zealand on Thursday honored 10 people for the “extraordinary courage” they exhibited in the face of deadly Islamophobic attacks on mosques in 2019, said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

At Thursday's ceremony, Abdul Aziz and Dr Naeem Rashid were awarded the New Zealand Cross, according to a statement on the Prime Minister's official website.

Only two other people have received the New Zealand Cross since its inception in 1999.

“Abdul Aziz displayed great courage and bravery challenging the gunman, with complete disregard for his own safety. Aziz’s actions deterred the gunman from reentering the Linwood Islamic Centre and ultimately forced him to flee the Mosque,” the statement said.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Abdul Aziz said: “At the end of the day, he achieved nothing, but we achieved a lot.”

“The rest of his life is behind bars, away from his family, loved ones, and everything," Abdul Aziz said, adding, "But we, as Muslims, are Alhamdulillah (Allah's blessings) with our loved ones and everything."

“I know we lost our loved ones and we missed them, but we have achieved a lot,” he said.

“Above all, we showed to humanity that we can sacrifice our lives to save the lives of others,” he remarked, adding that he is the one who has taken lives, "not us."

"The day I saw him when he ran away was completely different from the day I saw him when he was sentenced," Abdul Aziz added.

"Alhamdulillah, we are Muslims, we believe in Allah. Those who lost their lives became martyrs. They are in a better place than us, we believe. But, of course, we will miss them.”

On March 15, 2019, Tarrant, an Australian white supremacist, killed 51 people and injured 40 more at the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch.

Last year, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, in the first such ruling ever handed down in the island country.

Abdul Aziz, who was inside the Linwood Mosque at the time of the attack, has been hailed as a hero for confronting the gunman, chasing him away, and saving more lives.

Abdul Aziz did not hide when the shooter advanced toward the Linwood Mosque during Friday prayers, killing those in his path. Instead, he picked up the first thing he could find -- a credit card machine -- and ran outside screaming ‘come here!'.


*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz in Ankara

source: News Feed
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