The two heroes of the Christchurch mosque massacre have made an emotional return to the scene of the bloodshed.
Linwood mosque Imam Abdul Lateef Zirullah, better known as Brother Lateef, and ‘Eftpos machine hero’ Abdul Aziz, from Australia, were re-united for a traditional Maori ‘cleansing’ ceremony at the Linwood mosque, where the pair’s heroics saved many lives on Friday.
An emotional Mr Lateef broke down in tears during the service and was comforted by mourners, including a police officer who was seen laying a friendly hand on the Iman’s back.
The service was held just metres away from a growing mountain of flowers, and on a street where strangers have spent the weekend spontaneously hugging Muslims.
A picture of Mr Lateef soaked in blood has become one of the enduring images of the tragedy, which has been hailed as New Zealand’s ‘darkest day’ with the loss of 50 lives.
Mr Lateef was the first to spot gunman Brenton Harrison Tarrant and raise the alarm outside the second mosque on Friday afternoon, warning worshippers to get down.
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Brother Abdul Lateef Zirullah (left) and Abdul Aziz (right), the two surviving heroes of the mass shooting at Linwood mosque attack, have made an emotional return to the scene three days on
Brother Lateef broke down in tears during a traditional Maori ceremony at the mosque. He was the first person to spot accused gunman Brenton Harrison Tarrant out the window and warned worshippers inside, saving countless lives
During Monday’s ceremony a policeman placed a comforting hand on the back of Mr Lateef as he broke down in tears
‘From the window, I sighted him (and) I thought maybe he was a policeman,’ Mr Lateef told Daily Mail Australia.
‘But then when I saw on the floor next to him was another (dead) lady, I said “no”.’
Mr Lateef could hear the killer’s muffled, but clearly offensive, yelling, through the window.
‘I can’t hear him very well clearly inside but I know he was saying something, like using this vulgar word,’ he said.
‘I realised he is amiss and something must be done. Initially people didn’t understand but eventually people got to know what happened.’
After being alerted to the gunman by Mr Lateef, Mr Aziz picked up the first thing he could find – an Eftpos machine – and ran to confront the attacker.
When he got outside Tarrant had returned to his car to swap guns.
Mr Lateef told Daily Mail Australia that he saw Brenton Harrison Tarrant (pictured) out the window of the mosque and initially thought he was a policeman, before noticing a dead body on the ground nearby
Moments after the gunman fled the scene Mr Lateef was photographed on the street wearing a bloodstained garment
An emotional Mr Lateef was comforted by dozens of mourners during the traditional cleansing ceremony
Mr Lateef told how after he warned worshippers, Abdul Aziz (right) grabbed an Eftpos machine and ran outside to chase the accused gunman
When Tarrant returned to his car to get another gun Mr Aziz chased after him and hurled the gun at the car, shattering the windscreen and scaring him away
Mr Aziz (right) said he could hear his two young sons inside the mosque urging him to come back inside and away from danger
‘From the window, I sighted him… I thought he was a policeman,’ Brother Lateef said. He then noticed dead bodies outside the mosque and yelled out to the worshippers at Friday prayers
Mr Aziz then saw a discarded weapon on the ground and picked it up, before aiming at Tarrant and squeezed hard on the trigger – but it was empty.
‘He got into his car and I just got the gun and threw it on his window like an arrow and blasted his window… that’s why he got scared,’ Mr Aziz said.
Inside the mosque Mr Aziz said he could hear his two young sons, aged 11 and five, calling for him to come back inside.
Mr Lateef said he had seen the iconic photograph of his robe covered in blood just moments after the massacre.
‘I was trying to rescue some brothers,’ he said.
‘I was thinking I could do something to save their lives, but, unfortunately, some of them, most of them had passed.’
Maori leader performs the traditional cleansing ceremony at the Linwood Mosque on Monday
The ceremony, known as a karakia, is regularly held after tragic deaths and is similar to rituals performed by indigenous Australians
Nearly three days since the horrific terror attack in Christchurch which left 50 worshippers dead, new details about the innocent victims are emerging
VICTIMS OF THE NEW ZEALAND MOSQUE MASSACRES
As of 2am AEDT Monday
Mucad Ibrahim, 3
Abdullahi Dirie, 4
Sayyad Milne, 14
Khaled Mustafa, 45, and son Hamza, 16
Naeem Rashid and his son Talha, 21
Tariq Omar, 24
Ozair Kadir, 24
Syed Areeb Ahmed, 26
Ansi Alibava, 25
Ramiz Vora, 28
Farhaj Ahsan, 30
Mojammel Hoq, 30
Atta Elayyan, 33
Hussein Al-Umari, 36
Mohammed Omar Faruk, 36
Junaid Ismail, 36
Osama Adnan Abu Kwik, 37
Zeehan Raza, 38
Kamel Darwish, 39
Dr Haroon Mahmood, 40
Husne Ara Parvin, 42
Syed Jahandad Ali, 43
Mohammad Imran Kahn, 47
Mathullah Safi, 55
Amjad Hamid, 57
Lilik Abdul Hamid, 58
Arifbhai Mohamedali Vora, 58
Ghulam Hussain, in his 60s
Karam Bibi, in her 60s
Musa Vali Suleman Patel, 60
Abdelfattah Qasem, 60
Ashraf Ali, 61
Mohsin Al-Harbi, 63
Linda Armstrong, 65
Maheboob Khokhar, 65
Muhammed Abdusi Samad, 66
Ali Elmadani, 66
Mounir Soliman, 68
Ahmad Gamaluddin Abdel Ghani, 68
Hussein Moustafa, 70
Abdukadir Elmi, 70
Haji-Daoud Nabi, 71
Mr Lateef said he was ‘very pleased’ with a Maori cleansing of the land and blessing, which was held at the mosque on Monday morning.
The ceremony, known as a karakia, is regularly held after tragic deaths and was organised by the staff of New Zealand deputy police commissioner Wallace Haumaha.
Mr Haumaha said the process was much like an indigenous Australian cultural ritual.
‘It’s important to have that cleansing,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘We use it … to ensure we have cleansed all the evilness – not so much evilness, but everything left behind by those deaths, to allow the living to move on.’
It came after a Maori gang earlier performed a touching haka during a memorial at the Al Noor mosque on the other side of Christchurch.
Around ten members of Black Power, which was first formed in 1970, gathered near the police cordon at the mosque to perform the ceremonial dance on Sunday.
The death toll from the terror attack has risen to 50, with new details about the innocent victims continuing to emerge.
They include, Junaid Ismail, 36, who left behind a wife, three young children and a mother who relied on him to care for her.
Another, Ansi Alibava, 25, was eagerly awaiting her graduation ceremony from her masters degree in May, while Hussein Al-Umari, 36, was a regular at the Masjid Al Noor mosque.
Ozair Kadir (pictured), 24, was a student pilot at the International Aviation Academy of New Zealand and had been in Christchurch for just a year when he was killed on Friday
Syed Jahandad Ali, 43, from Pakistan was one of the 50 victims killed in the terror attack in Christchurch on Friday
Maheboob Allarakha Khokhar (left), 65, who was due to return to India on Sunday after visiting his son in Christchurch and Husna Ara Parvin (right), who was reportedly gunned down as she tried to save her quadriplegic husband from the shooter
Ashraf Ali (pictured) a respected imam at the Masjid Al Noor mosque who was originally from Fiji, is also thought to be among the dead
Also among the dead is Tariq Omar, 24, who is remembered for his kind and humble nature and was a former student of Cashmere High School in Christchurch.
Kamel Darwish, 38, who moved to Christchurch from Jordan six months ago and was awaiting the arrival of his wife and three children – was convinced to go to New Zealand by his brother, who had lived there since 2007 and said it was a ‘safe place to raise a family’.
Sixty-year-old Abdelfattah Qasem, from Palestine, was also killed on Friday at the Masjid Al Noor mosque – he was the Muslim Association of Canterbury’s former secretary.
Another among the dead is Musa Vali Suleman Patel, 60, who was visiting Christchurch to see his son and was a highly respected leader of the Fiji Muslim League – he left behind his wife Saira Bibi Patel, three daughters and two sons.
Ramiz Arifbhai Vora, 28, and his father Arifbhai Mohamedali Vora, 58, were both shot dead on Friday.
The 28-year-old lived and worked in Christchurch and had a baby daughter a week before he was killed in the vicious attack – his father was visiting him from India at the time.
Syed Areeb Ahmed (pictured), 26, from Karachi, Pakistan lost his life in the horrific shooting attacks in Christchurch on Friday
Linda Armstrong (left), 65, and Tariq Omar, 24, were also brutally killed by the shooter on Friday in Christchurch
Sixty-year-old Abdelfattah Qasem from Palestine was also killed on Friday at the Masjid Al Noor mosque – he was the Muslim Association of Canterbury’s former secretary
Ali Elmadani (right), 65, was a retired engineer who immigrated to New Zealand in 1998. Sohail Shahid (left), from Pakistan was also killed
Ozair Kadir, 24, was a student pilot at the International Aviation Academy of New Zealand and had been in Christchurch for just a year when he was killed on Friday.
Another among the victims is Maheboob Allarakha Khokhar, 65, who was due to return to India on Sunday after visiting his son in Christchurch.
Four-year-old Abdullahi Dirie was also named among the dead after both he and his father Adan were shot at one of the mosques, while four of his siblings escaped unhamed.
Abdullah’s family fled Somalia in the 1990s and made New Zealand their home, he was the youngest in his family.
Before he was brutally killed, Amjad Hamid, 57, was a senior Medical Officer and Rural Hospital Consultant at Hawera Hospital who has been remembered for his kindness, compassion and sense of humour.
National-level futsal player Atta Elayyan (right) was reportedly killed on Friday. He is being remembered as an ‘inspiration’
A recently identified victim is 38-year-old Kamel Darwish who moved to New Zealand from Jordan six months ago (pictured)
Ramiz Arifbhai Vora (left), 28, and his father Arifbhai Mohamedali Vora (right), 58, were both shot dead by the gunman on Friday.
Mohammed Omar Faruk (pictured), 36, from Bangladesh was shot dead on Friday at the mosque attacks in Christchurch
Another among the victims is Mounir Soliman, 68, from Egypt who was a design engineer working at Scotts Engineering in Christchurch since 1997.
Zeehan Raza, 38, is also among those killed and was a mechanical engineer who moved to New Zealand from Pakistan in 2018 – both he and his parents Ghulam Hussain and Karam Bibi, were killed at the Linwood Masjid mosque.
Another believed to be among the dead is Bangladeshi Husna Parvin, who was reportedly gunned down as she tried to save her wheelchair-bound quadriplegic husband from the shooter.
Three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim died in the arms of his father and brother, who only survived because he played dead.
Mucad Ibrahim was attending Friday prayers with his father and older brother Abdi Ibrahim when a gunman stormed the al Noor mosque in Christchurch and opened fire on the worshippers.
It’s believed that at the time of the horrific attack, Mucad ran from the gunman while his father and brother played dead.
Tarrant dismissed his lawyer on Monday morning and now plans to represent himself in future court proceedings.
Richard Peters said the gunman had informed him he wanted to represent himself as his case heads to a trial.
Ansi Alibava (pictured) came to New Zealand to pursue a Master of Agribusiness Management at Lincoln University
Lilik Abdul Hamid, 58, from Medan, Indonesia (pictured), who died in the mosque left behind two children
Three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim (left) was also named among the dead after he passed away in the arms of his father and brother, who only survived because he played dead. Cardiologist Amjad Hamid (right) was mowed down after moving to New Zealand 23 years ago because he wanted a better future for himself and his wife
Haji Daoud Nabi (pictured), 71, a father-of-five and retired engineer, moved to New Zealand from Afghanistan in 1977 and set up a new life as one of the ‘first Muslims in New Zealand’. He is thought to be among the dead in the Christchurch shooting
Khaled Mustafa (pictured) arrived in New Zealand only a few months ago from Syria with his family, his son Hamza, 16 also died
Osama Adnan Abu Kwik, 37, from Palestine (pictured) was in the process of applying for New Zealand citizenship when he was killed
Mojammel Hoq, 30, from Bangladesh (left) and Musa Vali Suleman Patel, 60, from Fiji (right) also died in the shooting on Friday
Talha Naeem, 21, (pictured) was shot at the Masjid Al Noor in Deans Ave, his father was also killed on Friday
Hussein Al-Umari, 35, (pictured) was a regular at the Masjid Al Noor in Deans Ave, Christchurch, where he was killed
Muhammed Abdusi Samad, 66, from Bangladesh (pictured) was a lecturer at Lincoln University and frequently led prayers at the Masjid Al Noor in Deans Ave
Mr Peters said while the decision may seem irrational, Tarrant appeared to be ‘clear and lucid’, and did not appear to be mentally unstable.
Tarrant never told him why he wanted to represent himself, but Mr Peters said he ‘presumes the basis for that is that he thinks the job would be done better himself’.
The shock decision has raised concerns Tarrant will use what will be a high-profile murder trial as a platform to spread hate and vile anti-Muslim rhetoric.
‘I suspect that he won’t shy away from publicity, and that will probably be the way he runs the trial. The job of the trial judge will be to deal with that,’ Mr Peters said.
‘But it’s not a place for any views to be put forward. It’s simply there to determine innocence or guilt.
‘The court is not going to be very sympathetic to him if he wants to use the trial to express his own views.’
Tarrant is currently facing one charge of murder, but more charges are expected to be laid in the coming days.
The 28-year-old who grew up in Grafton, in regional New South Wales, live-streamed his alleged attack on Facebook.
He did not apply for bail or for his name to be suppressed during a brief appearance in court on Saturday, and is expected to front the High Court on April 5.
Naeem Rashid (pictured), from Abbottabad in Pakistan, was hailed a hero after he tried to wrestle the gun from the Christchurch shooter on Friday. But he was badly wounded after sadly died later in hospital
Cashmere High School student Sayyad Milne (pictured), 14, who was at Friday prayers when the shooting started, is believed to be dead. Although it’s not been officially confirmed, his father has spoken of his loss
Dr Haroon Mahmood (pictured) leaves a wife and two children aged 13 and 11
A spokesman for Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that five Pakistani citizens are missing (pictured missing person Syed Jahandad Ali)
At least one Jordanian was killed in the attacks and two are critical among the eight injured, Jordan’s Foreign Ministry announced
A woman (pictured) was seen distressed outside a community center near Masjid Al Noor in Christchurch, and said her husband has been missing since Friday’s mosque attack