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Christchurch shooting: Family wants to find women who saved relatives during New Zealand attacks

Saturday March 23, 2019
By Barbara Miller in Christchurch

Photo: Fazia Abdukadir wants to find the "brave girls" who rescued her sister-in-law and baby niece. (ABC News: Barbara Miller)

A woman who lost her father in last week's Christchurch shooting at the Al Noor mosque says she wants to find and thank the two women who rescued her sister-in-law and baby niece.

Fazia Abdukadir travelled from the United States to New Zealand to support her family after they were caught up in the attacks, which left 50 people dead.

Her father Elmi Abdukadir, 66, was killed — but five other members of her family managed to flee the mosque.

On the way to bury her father at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Christchurch, Ms Abdukadir approached the ABC to ask for their help in identifying two women who were driving by the mosque as the attacks took place.

"My sister-in-law, she ran after the shooting stopped and everything went quiet.

"She had a chance to get away, but still, she was scared and screaming, and the baby was crying," she said.

Ms Abdukadir's sister-in-law saw the bodies of two friends as she fled and was terrified of being followed.

"Fortunately, two brave girls pulled over their car and they took the baby and my sister-in-law.

"They held her and the baby and put them in the car," she said.

    "We've been looking for them to say thank you. They saved her and the baby."

Ms Abdukadir said her mother, who has been left a widow, is desperate to find the women who came to the rescue.

"She kept telling me, 'I have to say thank you, can you please ask everybody, please look for them,'" she said.
Elmi Abdukadir laid to rest

Ms Abdukadir's father was one of 26 victims — including the youngest, 3-year-old Mucad Ibrahim — who were buried on Friday at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Christchurch.

Photo: Relatives of Elmi Abdukadir carry his body to its final resting place. (ABC News: Brendan Esposito)

Mr Abdukadir brought his family to New Zealand about seven years ago from Somalia and they settled in the Christchurch suburb of Halswell.

His daughter was able to spend time with his body on Thursday.

"He looks like he is sleeping, so it made me feel better," she said.

Ms Abdukadir was inspired by the speech by Al Noor mosque imam Gamal Fouda at Friday prayers.

Speaking from a stage set up in Hagley Park opposite the mosque, he called for all world leaders to come together to fight against hate speech.

Despite what she has been through this week, Ms Abdukadir said she would join the fight.

    "All kinds of hate —Islamophobia, anti-Semitism — are all the same. We have to fight against that all together," she said.


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