Reports say the Imam of one of the Christchurch, New Zealand mosques attacked by a terrorist on Friday is a Nigerian.
Lateef Alabi who is the Linwood mosque’s acting Imam was leading the congregation in prayers on the fateful day when terrorist Brenton Tarrant struck.
Alabi said the death toll would have been far higher at the mosque but for a worshipper, Abdul Aziz, 48, who grabbed Tarrant’s gun and forced him away from a mosque.
Aziz’s action terminated the killing spree.
Alabi said he heard a voice outside the mosque at about 1.55pm and stopped the prayer he was leading and looked out the window, the London Mail reported yesterday.
He saw a man in black military-style gear and a helmet holding a large gun and assumed it was a police officer.
Then he saw two bodies and heard the gunman yelling obscenities.
They hesitated only for a shot to be fired by Tarrant, shattering a window and felling a worshipper.
That what when it dawned on the congregation that they were under attack.
Also reporting on the tragedy, the Sunday State Times quoted Alabi as saying that grieving families of the mosque terrorist attack victims are anxious to be reunited with their loved ones.
Alabi said the community leaders had requested the process be done as quickly as possible.
He and other leaders wanted the mosques re-opened with increased security.
No time for the release of the bodies for burial had been agreed, but Alabi said it would “probably” start from Sunday.
Alabi became emotional talking about the grieving families.
The volunteer imam said he was in the middle of prayers when he saw the gunman outside the mosque.
Alabi told everyone inside to “get down”, but it wasn’t until the gunman shot someone through a side window that everyone dropped to the floor.
He said the gunman ran out of bullets and dropped his gun. A man inside the mosque followed the shooter as he left the mosque. He picked up the machine gun and smashed it into the gunman’s car windscreen. After the gunman ran away, Alabi returned to the mosque.
Alabi said he had never expected to experience a terrorist attack in New Zealand.