The Pakistani Man Who Tried to Stop the New Zealand Shooter Will Be Honored With a Posthumous Award

“Even in his last moments, he did what he could to help others.”

A vigil for the Christchurch victims in Lahore, Pakistan. K.M. Chaudary/AP

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

A Pakistani man who tried to stop the shooter during a massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, will be honored with a posthumous national award, Pakistan’s prime minister announced on Sunday. Naeem Rashid, 50, tried to tackle the gunman outside of one of the two mosques before being shot and killed along with his 21-year-old son, Talha. 

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted on Sunday that Rashid was “martyred trying to tackle the White Supremacist terrorist,” and that his courage would be recognized with a national award. He also declared Monday a national day of mourning. “I blame these increasing terror attacks on the current Islamophobia post-9/11 where Islam & 1.3 bn Muslims have collectively been blamed for any act of terror by a Muslim,” he tweeted on Friday, soon after the attack.

Rashid was a teacher who moved to New Zealand almost a decade ago, and had been in the midst of planning his son’s wedding. “We were talking to Naeem about the family coming to Pakistan for Talha’s wedding,” Khurshid Alam, Rashid’s brother, told the Washington Post. “Now we are talking about his death and funeral arrangements.” 

“I still can’t understand or believe why and how this happened,” Ambreen Rashid, Naeem’s wife, told the Khaleej Times, a newspaper based in the United Arab Emirates. “But, I know that my husband is a hero. He always helped people and even in his last moments, he did what he could to help others.”

Seven other Pakistanis were killed at the shooting, which claimed the lives of at least 50 people. The suspect, a 28-year-old Australian man named Brenton Harrison Tarrant, has been taken into custody and charged with murder. 

While New Zealand police have yet to release a detailed account of the incident, other stories of bravery have emerged: At the Linwood Mosque, Abdul Aziz, 48, immediately tried to confront the shooter, throwing a credit card machine at him and later a discarded shotgun at the man’s car before he drove away. “It was like my mind wasn’t working,” Aziz, who emigrated from Afghanistan, told the New York Times. “It was automatic reaction, like anybody. I was prepared to give my life to save another life.” 

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate