Abdul Aziz Wahabzadah hails from Afghanistan and previously lived in Australia as a refugee for almost 30 years. He made the move to New Zealand two years ago after witnessing racism and discrimination during his time in Australia. He believed that NZ would offer a more peaceful life for him and his family.
On March 15th, a white supremacist terrorist from Australia fired on worshipers at mosques in Christchurch, murdering 50 people.
Wahabzadah leapt into action and did his best to fight off the gunman’s attack on the Linwood mosque. Moments before, he had been praying with his four children, but wasting no time, he picked up a nearby credit card reader and flung it at the attacker, who retreated to the parking lot and continued firing. Ducking between cars, Wahabzadah proved a difficult target and managed to dodge the mass murderer’s gunfire.
Eventually, the killer drove off, but not before, Wahabzadah picked up one of his unloaded guns and flung it at his car.
Sadly, eight people perished at the Linwood mosque with the other 42 dying at the Al Noor mosque. Still, Wahabzadah’s actions are to be commended. His efforts to scare off the terrorist and halt the attack ultimately paid off. Latef Alabi, Linwood’s imam, believes the death toll would have been much higher if not for Wahabzadah’s bravery.
The courageous father and community hero doesn’t see his actions as anything special. Wahabzadah told the media, “I promise you I wasn’t frightened or anything.” He adds “I was doing my job. If anyone was there in that situation (they) would do the same thing as I did.”
In closing, Wahabzadah said, “I got to be honest with you, it wasn’t me, it was God that saved everybody. God saved everyone.”
Of the murderer, Jacinda Ardern, the 37-year-old Prime Minister of New Zealand declared that she would not give him the fame he was looking for.
You will never hear me mention his name. He is a terrorist, he is a criminal, he is an extremist, but he will, when I speak, be nameless, and to others I implore you: Speak the names of those who were lost rather than the name of the man who took them. He may have sought notoriety but we in New Zealand will give him nothing — not even his name.
In a show of respect for the grieving families, Ardern wore a hijab while comforting victims and survivors. She also promised “Our gun laws will change.” A ban on semiautomatic weapons looks likely to occur.