He fled Afghanistan to escape violence, only to watch a man die in his arms in Christchurch


Christchurch, New Zealand (Alhuria) — When Ahmed Khan moved to New Zealand as a refugee from Afghanistan 12 years ago, he thought he had left violence and death behind.
But on Friday, as he was praying at Linwood mosque in Christchurch, an armed man started shooting indiscriminately at worshipers — first outside the mosque, then through the windows as women and children huddled inside, screaming.
Khan said he pulled one injured child out of danger and was holding a man who’d been shot in the arm when the gunman returned.
“(The wounded man) was asking for some water. I said to him, ‘calm down, the police are here now’ and stuff. And the gunman came through the window again while I was holding him and shot him in the head. And he was dead,” khan said.
Many people in the diverse city have ties to the community that stretch back generations. Former refugees and migrants have said they chose to make it their home because it was safe.
Ahmad Khan said he watched as a man was shot dead in his arms during one of the mosque attacks.
Ahmad Khan said he watched as a man was shot dead in his arms during one of the mosque attacks.
A total of 49 people were killed in the mosque attacks on Friday. The massacre has stunned residents, not just because it happened there but also because it was planned to show the world that even the most peaceful places are not immune to terror.
Australian citizen Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged with one count of murder. Two other people remain in police custody. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described it as “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”
Khan wasn’t the only member of his family touched by the shootings. A few blocks away, at the Al Noor mosque, Khan’s uncle is believed to be one of 41 people gunned down there while praying.
On Saturday, families waited patiently as officials worked to identify bodies. Yet while confirmation will bring some closure, questions will linger as to how such a horrifying event can happen in a country many consider safe.
“We felt it was such a safe city, such a safe country,” a 30-year-old construction project manager, who did not want to be named, said. “The hatred has spread everywhere.”

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