Daoud Nabi: A Tribute to Hero Christchurch Mosque Victim
Haji-Daoud Nabi died shielding another person from the shooter
Yama was running late for prayers. His father died shielding another man
Yama Nabi was running 10 minutes late to Friday prayers when he neared the mosque and saw that something was wrong. He parked his car nearby, told his six-year-old daughter Zahal to wait and ran.
He passed the body of a man in the gutter and then a woman. Another man, screaming, was trying to lift and cradle her, while others sought to pull him back. Given her horrific head wound it was clear that she was dead.
Closer still he saw a Somalian man he often saw at the mosque with his young son, a happy mischievous boy he remembers being scolded for playing when he should have been at prayer. The man was leaning against the wall, apparently shot in the leg. He had taken off his jacket to lay it over the body of his boy.
Police who had just arrived on the scene barred Nabi from entering the mosque but outside a friend, Ramazan, told him once and then twice more, "your father saved my life. Your father saved my life."
Yama Nabi was running late for mosque, where his father Haji-Daoud Nabi died shielding another person from the shooter. CREDIT:ABIGAIL DOUGHERTY/STUFF
"I didn't click," said Nabi as he stood in the park looking over the road at the mosque in which forensic police are still at work.
He thought Ramazan meant that his father, Haji Daud Nabi, had helped him escape, but his father was nowhere to be found.
Police took Nabi and other family and survivors to the nearby Christchurch Hospital, but in the chaos there was little information passed on except for the steadily growing death toll.
Nabi started watching and re-watching the gunman's video until he found his father lying dead on his back.
"I had to go back and forward and back and forward a lot, but I knew it was him."
He believes that back at the mosque his friend had not wanted to tell him that his father had stepped in front of a bullet.
Haji Daoud Nabi was a retired engineer with a love of old cars who had escaped the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and brought his young family to New Zealand. He ran the Afghan Association.
Recently he and Yama had had a little falling out. They had not seen each other for two or three weeks, but Yama knew how much the old man loved his grandchildren, so he was keen to patch things up.
That was why he had brought Zahal along.
Speaking outside the High Court in Christchurch on Saturday, where a 28-year-old Australian man is being charged with murder, Yama's brother Omar Nabi said "he jumped in the firing line to save somebody else's life and he has passed away".
Omar Nabi, Yama's brother, holds a photo of their father, 71 year old Haji Daoud who was killed in the Masjid Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch.CREDIT:JASON SOUTH
Asked how he felt about his father's sacrifice, Omar Nabi said: "Your time is up but you're helping someone else to live because they're younger - their life has to go on.
"He normally pushes somebody out of the way if anything [happens] like this - 'get away, go' - because he's used to Afghanistan.
"Just helping people is his main thing. It makes me feel like he wanted other people to live.
Omar Nabi said he was "outraged" at what had happened.
"I honestly thought somebody was carrying a water pistol - this is New Zealand, you know - or a showing of a pellet gun or something.
"We feel safe here because it's multicultural, we're accepted no matter who we are.
He said he could use a million words to describe his father.
"He was a man with a lot of talents ... and wisdom he shared to use as life skills.
"He's a very humble man who has helped a lot of people."
Omar Nabi said his father would be buried but he would like to take him back to Afghanistan.