A disabled man whose wife was shot dead at one of the mosques in the Christchurch terror attacks last Friday has said he has forgiven the shooter.
Farid Ahmed, a quadriplegic, was at the Al Noor mosque with his wife Husna Ahmed when 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant stormed in and opened fire at the hundreds gathered there for prayers.
Husna was shot dead when she returned for Ahmed after she had led many women and children to safety out of a side entrance. Ahmed, who wheeled himself out the mosque during the incident, said that he could simply not hate Tarrant despite what he did to his wife.
"I was asked 'how do you feel about the person who killed your wife?' and I said 'I love that person because he is a human, a brother of mine,'" he told the New Zealand Herald.
Although Ahmed does not support what Tarrant did, he attempted to rationalize his mental state by saying: "Maybe he was hurt, maybe something happened to him in his life … but the bottom line is, he is a brother of mine."
Listen to this from Farid Ahmed who lost his wife in the New Zealand mosque attacks and your will realise that good has the capacity to overcome evil pic.twitter.com/HNXwnEzC6H— Ashraf Garda (@AshrafGarda) March 18, 2019
"I have forgiven him and I am sure if my wife was alive she would have done the same thing," he added.
Reports state Ahmed's 44-year-old wife had screamed at worshippers inside the building to follow her outside through a side-door as Tarrant allegedly opened fire in the lobby. She reportedly saved everyone she could and returned for her husband. However, once she came back in, she was shot in the back and died instantly.
During this time, Ahmed wheeled himself outside to the car park and hid behind this vehicle. Restricted to his wheelchair, he watched dozens of worshippers fall out of smashed windows and jump over a fence to save their lives.
Ahmed said that he even saw a friend of his run straight past him without stopping to help him. He, however, added that he has spoken with him since and told him that he understood his decision to save himself first and that his wheelchair did make him a liability.
Reports state that after the gunman left to recreate the mayhem at Linwood mosque, Ahmed wheeled himself back inside and tried to help anyone he could. He saw piles of bodies inside, making it impossible for him to navigate around to help anyone.
Police officials swiftly arrived at the scene and wheeled him outside to tell him about his wife's death. They then told him to go home to his daughter.
Ahmed, after witnessing the carnage, said that he wished he could hug the shooter.
"I was trying to grieve and it came to me then that I wish I could give him a hug. Some people might call me crazy but I speak from my heart, I am not pretending - if I got an opportunity I would hug him," he said.
Tarrant, identified as an Australian white supremacist, has so far been charged with one count of murder for the killing of 50 people at the two mosques, and is scheduled to appear in court against in April. He's expected to face more charges in the coming hearing, according to reports.