As the world reeled from Friday’s devastating terrorist attack in New Zealand, war-ravaged Afghanistan mourned the loss of Daud Nabi, the humble face of Islam in the island country, killed in cold blood along with at least 50 worshippers in Christchurch.
The 71-year-old former Afghan refugee was among the founding members of al-Noor Mosque, one of the two mosques that was stormed by a terrorist.
Daud stood at the entrance of the mosque to welcome devotees for Friday prayers. In the live-streamed video of the onslaught on Facebook, Nabi can be seen warmly welcoming Brenton Tarrant, the 28-year-old terrorist, saying ‘Hello Brother’ expecting the same from him only to receive multiple lethal bullets.
This simple greeting by Nabi in the face of death has touched thousands of people worldwide.
His last words ‘Hello Brother’ have been trending with tweets in English, Arabic, Pashto, Persian, Turkish and other languages.
“Tarrant wanted to stop #Islam, but he made more Islamic heroes, he showed us the ugly face of #Islamophobia and the illness in their sick self’s #ChristchurchTerrorAttack #HelloBrother,” read one among numerous tweets.
“The final words of a pure soul filled with a peaceful faith. #HelloBrother,” read another tweet.
Fleeing Soviet rule in Afghanistan, Nabi took refuge in New Zealand some four decades ago. He was the chief of the tiny Afghan community there.
One of his four sons, Omar Nabi, told the BBC Pashto service of Afghanistan, his father was always in service of the community especially the migrants. “He never asked or expected anything in return, he would always strive for their welfare.”
Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani tweeted on Sunday: “Today, I spoke and extended my deepest condolences to the families of Haji Mohammad Daud Nabi and Matiullah Safi. They were martyred in the mosque attack in Christchurch, New Zealand. I offered these bereaved families our help in any way possible.”
The Afghan Embassy in New Zealand said another Afghan man prevented the terrorist from entering Linwood Mosque, the second mosque that came under attack.
“An Afghan-origin man, Abdul Aziz, who was inside the Linwood Mosque when it was attacked has been hailed as a hero for confronting the gunman, chasing him off and preventing more deaths.
“Abdul Aziz did not hide when the shooter advanced toward the Linwood Mosque during Friday prayers, killing those in his path. Instead, he picked up the first thing he could find — a credit card machine — and ran outside screaming ‘come here!’.”
Muslim immigrants from Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and other countries bore the brunt of this terrorist attack