PM Imran pays tribute to widow of Christchurch hero Naeem Rashid


Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday paid tribute to the spirit and faith of Naeem Rashid’s widow, who, in a recent interview, said that she feels “sad and pity” for the terrorist that killed her husband, a son and 48 others in the Christchurch terror attack last Friday.

“I feel sad for that terrorist, I feel pity for him that he did not have love in his heart […] he had hate, and he can’t feel the contentment and peace that we can,” Ambreen Naeem told New Zealand TV show The Project’s reporter Kanoa Lloyd.

Ambreen is one of the many people who lost their loved ones in the deadly attack that rattled the otherwise serene Christchurch. Her husband Naeem Rashid rose to prominence and was dubbed a hero when footage of the attack showed that he had tried to tackle the terrorist who had stormed the Al Noor mosque and fired indiscriminately.

“I don’t know how he feels. He just has hate in his heart, and hate doesn’t make you happy. We had love and that makes us happy, and he can’t have that feeling — he can’t feel love because he just has hate,” she added in a separate interview with Al Jazeera.

The prime minister shared on Twitter a video clip of Ambreen’s interview, saying: “How this faith in Allah and his Prophet PBUH transforms humans into strong & loving beings who can even feel pity for a terrorist, a mass murderer, who took away their loved ones.”

“For all those within and outside the Muslim world, these words of Shaheed Naeem Rashid’s wife should make everyone understand the power of faith in Allah and Prophet Muhammed PBUH,” said the premier.

Ambreen remembered her late husband as “a very loving and caring person”. “Even if there was a slight earthquake or something, he always called me to tell he was okay but this time I didn’t have any message [from him].”

Prime Minister Khan has announced that Rashid’s courage “will be recognised with a national award”.

Ambreen appreciated the premier’s promise, saying: “My husband and my son, as you’ve seen them, they were brave people. The award will be a very nice thing to show to my children, especially my younger son. When he grows up, he will be happy to know that his father was so brave.”

Ambreen’s sister Naeema Khan, meanwhile, revealed that the Rashid’s son Talha, who also lost his life in the attack, saved the life of a friend. “He saved another boy. He got shot and fell on another boy who was under him. He covered him, and when the boy was moving, he said ‘don’t move, stay still.'”

When asked if she would be going back to a mosque soon, Ambreen said: “Oh yes! That’s a thing that I have learnt. Nothing can stop me and this is not just me, I have heard from my other sisters; it has just made us stronger.”

The perpetrator behind Friday’s terror attack was an Australian. Rashid’s niece Saba Khan, however, stressed that Friday’s attacks were an individual’s act and should not be pinned on an entire community.

“I’m really proud of the fact that our community has not generalised the Australian population as the villain,” she said. “We acknowledge that it was an individual that did this, not Australians. Just like in the past, it was those individual people that identified themselves with Islam that carried out those attacks, not the whole Muslim population.”