Man whose wife died in NZ attack forgives killer
As New Zealanders unite over terror attacks on Christchurch mosques, one survivor forgives shooter while another shakes off hero tag
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND Heroism has many faces - like the man who chased after a heavily-armed white-supremacist gunman with a hand-held credit card machine. Or another who used himself as a human shield.
The death toll would have risen past 50 in the attacks on two Christchurch mosques by the lone gunman on Friday were it not for their bravery.
But there is another type of heroism, another form of bravery, that may not be so visible and this comes from within.
It is the capacity to forgive. It is the ability to overcome emotional pain, anger and sadness and say: I bear no ill will to the man who tore my life apart.
Mr Farid Ahmad is one such man.
His wife was killed as she rushed back to rescue him.
Asked if he forgave the 28-year-old white supremacist suspect, Mr Farid said: "Of course. The best thing is forgiveness, generosity, loving and caring, positivity.
"I would say to him 'I love him as a person'. But I cannot accept what he did. What he did was a wrong thing."
Number of mosques attacked by gunman
Number of people killed
Age of the youngest victim, New Zealand born Mucaad Ibrahim
Age of Mr Daoud Nabi, believed to be the oldest victim. He had lived in New Zealand for more than 40 years
Number of videos of the attack removed by Facebook in the first 24 hours
Number of firearms in New Zealand, which has a population of 5 million.
Mrs Husna Ahmad, 44, was killed at the Al Noor mosque - the first of two targeted by the gunman.
Mr Farid and his wife emigrated from Bangladesh to New Zealand in 1990 and have one daughter.
When the shooting started, Madam 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 towards a safe garden," Mr Farid said.
"She was coming back for 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."
Mr Farid, 59, who has been in a wheelchair since being hit by a drunk driver in 1998, believes he escaped the bullets because the gunman was focused on other targets, AFP reported.
"This guy was shooting one person two, three times, probably that gave some time to us to move out... even the dead he was shooting them again."
Mr Farid learned of his wife's death only after someone photographed her body and posted the picture on social media.
The Australian suspect, Brenton Tarrant, has yet to enter a plea in the single murder charge brought against him so far.
The self-professed white supremacist flashed a white power symbol when he arrived in court yesterday.
Mr Farid yesterday had to formally identify his wife's body and claim her effects.
Soft spoken in his grief, he spoke fondly of his wife.
If he were able to sit down with the suspect, Mr Farid said he would encourage him to rethink his outlook on life.
"I will 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, save humanity rather than destroy them," Mr Farid told AFP.
"I want him to look for that positive attitude in him, and I hope and I pray for him (to) be a great civilian one day. I don't have any grudge." - AFP