Victim relives day of horror and death

Lucky to be alive......Mohammed Ashif. Picture: SUPPLIED

MOHAMMED Ashif thought he was not going to make it out of the Lynwood mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday after he witnessed a woman who was just sitting next to him gunned down in seconds.

Mr Ashif was among the members of the Muslim worshippers at the Lynwood mosque who survived Friday’s harrowing terrorist attack, killing more than 10 people, 30 others at the Al Noor mosque and injuring others.

The Fijian-born had arrived at the mosque at 1.15pm to conduct his prayer. After the second ‘rakat’, he said he heard a blast and thought a tyre had exploded.

“Another Imam started shouting to all of us that he was shooting our brothers. Everyone just went down and the gunman started firing,” recalled the 25-year-old.

“Everyone started scrambling. “I quickly ran to where the women were praying until the first rounds of gunshots finished.”

He said it was horrific, scary and unexpected as he could see blood everywhere.

“The gunman went to reload his gun and came back for the second time.

“By this time, I ran towards the washing area and saw two brothers jumping out of the window.

“I crouched down and could hear the gunshots coming closer to me. Then I saw the lady that was next to me, who I had called the cops with fell to the ground after she was shot underneath her chest.”

He said two of his brothers then called him into the toilet where they stayed for almost 10 to 15 minutes before police arrived. “I was thinking that was it and that I was going to go too.

“I was thinking he could open the door at any moment and shoot us.

“When I came out, there was blood everywhere, one the walls, on the rug.

“I saw three bodies inside the mosque dead and I saw Imam Patel; he was bleeding. I saw a few bodies outside. I had to side step because people were lying all over.”

Mr Arif said he was thankful to an ‘Abdullah’ who was usually at the mosque. He described Abdullah as their ‘hero’ for saving their lives by confronting the gunman before he fled the mosque.

His father and Procera Music shop director Mohammed Akif said he was thankful to God that his son was able to escape death, but offered his condolences to the families of the victims.

He said his children moved to NZ more than 10 years ago in the hope of getting a good life, but after Friday’s attacks, he was thinking twice about it.

Mr Akif, however, commended NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for labeling the shooting as a terrorist attack.

“We are very shocked, but we leave it to God. We are not hatred people. We are not here to kill anybody or to take revenge. We leave it to God,” he said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Arden yesterday confirmed that NZ’s gun laws would change following the unfortunate killing of 49 people during last Friday’s mosque attacks.

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