IQNA

11:05 - March 15, 2021
News ID: 3474245
TEHRAN (IQNA) – A Christchurch mosque attacks hero who confronted the gunman and chased him away on March 15, 2019 warned about "forgotten victims" being left behind.

 

Abdul Aziz Wahabzadah was hailed a hero in the wake of the March 15, 2019 attacks – two years ago today - for saving lives at the Linwood mosque in Christchurch.

He chased the rampaging shooter and drew gunfire from just meters away.

Desperate to defend himself, Wahabzadah grabbed an Eftpos-card reader and threw it at him before spearing a discarded gun through the fleeing gunman's car window.

The Afghani refugee had his incredible bravery acknowledged by a judge during the harrowing four-day sentencing of the Australian terrorist last August before he was jailed for life without parole.

Wahabzadah attended Saturday's "We are one" national remembrance service at Christchurch Arena but came away feeling the "traumatized people" weren't properly represented.

Only deceased family members and bullet-wounded survivors have been technically classified as victims, and Wahabzadah says traumatized survivors, who were inside the mosques but avoided being shot, should also be counted alongside them.

"We call them forgotten victims… that hurts a lot," he said after the memorial service, claiming that nobody from the traumatized category had been asked to speak.

"They never called any of them to come and just [say] thanks to the Government, thanks to the police, thanks to all the doctors, ambulances, nurses, all the local people helping us on that day – we should've been given the chance to say thanks to them as well."

Many of who Wahabzadah called the "traumatized people" who number almost 200 stayed away from the service, he claimed.

Wahabzadah says more counselling and offers of support is needed for the "mentally wounded".

"They always try to sweep us under the carpet – that's the thing that hurts me a lot," he says.

"They should treat every the same."

Wahabzadah was hailed for his bravery after the attacks. But the trauma of what he experienced has started hitting him more now than ever before.

When he closes his eyes, he often sees images of the dead and wounded in his mind.

He tried counselling a few times but afterwards, he felt even worse than before.

"It's not easy," he admits.

He tries to keep busy and takes solace with the brotherhood of the Linwood Islamic Center.

"That's the thing that keeps us going," he says.

"Every Friday we go there and we have a family type of environment there.

"For one day, we are not thinking that much."

 

Source: odt.co.nz/star-news

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