Posted by News Express | 17 March 2019 | 4,337 times
The Imam of one of the Christchurch, New Zealand mosques attacked by a terrorist on Friday is a Nigerian.
Lateef Alabi who is the Linwood mosque’s acting Imam was leading the congregation in prayers on the fateful day when terrorist Brenton Tarrant struck.
Alabi said the death toll would have been far higher at the mosque but for a worshipper, Abdul Aziz, 48, who grabbed Tarrant’s gun and forced him away from a mosque.
Aziz’s action terminated the killing spree.
Alabi said he heard a voice outside the mosque at about 1.55pm and stopped the prayer he was leading and looked out the window, the London Mail reported yesterday.
He saw a man in black military-style gear and a helmet holding a large gun and assumed it was a police officer.
Then he saw two bodies and heard the gunman yelling obscenities.
“I realised this is something else. This is a killer,” Alabi said and shouted at the congregation of more than 80 people to get down.
They hesitated only for a shot to be fired by Tarrant, shattering a window and felling a worshipper.
That what when it dawned on the congregation that they were under attack.
“Then this brother came over,” he said of the moment Aziz could no longer bear the unfolding scenario.
“He (Aziz) went after him, and he managed to overpower him, and that’s how we were saved.
“Otherwise, if he managed to come into the mosque, then we would all probably be gone.”
Also reporting on the tragedy, the Sunday State Times quoted Alabi as saying that grieving families of the mosque terrorist attack victims are anxious to be reunited with their loved ones.
“Everybody is angry, everybody is upset of course, and they want to see their dead ones and just want to pay their last respects and let them go to the grave, but the police have to complete their work and go through the normal procedure before they are released,” he said.
Alabi said the community leaders had requested the process be done as quickly as possible.
“We just request the bodies shouldn’t be too long in the mosque because the bodies are still lying over there and eventually it will be too difficult to wash the bodies and take to the burial and probably things will start deteriorating, that’s the worry.”
He and other leaders wanted the mosques re-opened with increased security.
“I’m very sad for what has happened, but I believe this country is a peaceful country and I hope something good will happen after that and the security will become tighter.”
No time for the release of the bodies for burial had been agreed, but Alabi said it would “probably” start from Sunday. (London Mail/State Times)
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