Saying that my heart aches is an understatement. Saying that I have only shed a few tears is an understatement. Saying that I feel frightened to walk alone at night is an understatement. Saying that I fear that the one place where I can find tranquility and peace can be brutally disturbed is an understatement. These were just a fraction of the emotions that flooded my mind on March 15, a day of woe and utter heartbreak.
On March 15, a terrorist in Christchurch, New Zealand entered two mosques during the weekly Friday congregation and live streamed himself shooting Muslims praying in the two mosques. Fifty-one people to date have died all due to this monster’s heinous acts. This attack hit home as some people within the Rutgers community were directly affected when they lost their cousin, Atta Elayyan, a new father, football player and tech leader.
Rutgers University held a vigil on Monday, March 25 at Brower Commons to honor the 51 lives taken from us. People from different faiths, cultures and ethnicities came together to remember our fallen heroes. This vigil personally meant a lot to me and I felt a sense of gratitude as I saw all these different people coming together to stand in solidarity against terrorism and Islamophobia.
Each of these heroes deserves to be remembered, and this paper’s purpose is to honor them and make sure that everyone reading this paper remembers their names and not the name of the terrorist, as this is exactly what he wanted.
Remember Mucad Ibrahim, a 3-year-old son.
Abdukadir Elmi, a 70-year-old man who survived a civil war but could not survive through his wounds.
Abdul Fattah Qasem, a 60-year-old who helped everyone in his community and had a “heart of gold.”
Ahmed Abdelghani, a 68-year-old man who immigrated to New Zealand for his son’s education.
Ali Elmadani, a 66-year-old engineer killed while praying.
Amjad Hamid, a 57-year-old doctor killed during the attack.
Ansi Alibava, a 24-year-old agricultural engineer who moved to New Zealand with her husband.
Ashraf Ali, a 58-year-old who was unable to escape the gunman.
Ashraf Al Masri, an Egyptian victim whose body was returned to Egypt to be buried.
Ashraf Morsi, a 54-year-old man who leaves behind his wife and two children.
Asif Vora, a 56-year-old new grandfather.
Atta Elayyan, a 33-year-old tech leader and goalkeeper for the national football team who leaves behind his wife and 2-year-old daughter.
Daoud Nabi, the 71-year-old forever known as the man who said, “Peace and blessings, brother,” to the shooter when he entered.
Farhaj Ahsan, a 30-year-old electrical engineer who leaves behind a 3-year-old and 6-month-old.
Ghulam Husain, a 66-year-old who moved to Christchurch only a year ago.
Hafiz Musa Vali Patel, a 59-year-old visiting family in New Zealand.
Hamza Mustafa, a 16-year-old high school student beloved by his friends.
Haroon Mehmood, a 40-year-old man studying to get his PhD in biochemistry.
Husne Ara Parvin, a 44-year-old hero who took the bullet in place of her husband, paralyzed in a wheelchair, after checking up on him.
Hussain al-Umari, a 35-year-old hero who tried to tackle the gunman.
Hussein Moustafa, a 70-year-old who was an active volunteer in the mosque community.
Junaid Kara/Ismail, a twin whose brother would switch places with him in an instant.
Kamel Mohamad Kamel Darweesh, a 39-year-old who migrated to New Zealand to join his brother.
Karam Bibi, a 63-year-old mother coming to visit her son.
Khaled Mustafa, a 44-year-old who was a refugee fleeing the war in Syria.
Linda Armstrong, a 65-year-old woman who converted to Islam in her 50s and was beloved by the Al Noor Muslim community.
Maheboob Khokhar, a 65-year-old retired manager who was visiting his son for the first time since 2010.
Matiullah Safi, a 55-year-old leaving behind his six sons and daughter.
Mohammed Imran Khan, a 47-year-old who had his own restaurant in Christchurch.
Omar Faruk, a 36-year-old welder leaving behind his pregnant wife.
Mohsen Mohammed Al Harbi, a 63-year-old who came to New Zealand 25 years ago.
Mojammel Hoq, a 30-year-old dental student.
Mounir Suleiman, a 68-year-old man who came to New Zealand from Egypt for a better life.
Lilik Abdul Hamid, a 58-year-old aircraft maintenance engineer.
Abdus Samad, a 66-year-old professor who taught at Christchurch's Lincoln University.
Musa Nur Awale, a 77-year-old who taught religious studies at Al Noor Mosque.
Naeem Rashid, a 50-year-old teacher in Christchurch.
Osama Adnan Abu Kweik, a 37-year-old Palestinian who was just telling his wife how much he loved New Zealand and wanted to be buried there.
Ozair Kadir, a 25-year-old who was studying aviation in New Zealand.
Ramiz Vora, a 28-year-old who had just become a father.
Sayyad Milne, a 14-year-old goalkeeper at his high school.
Sohail Shahid, a 40-year-old who moved to New Zealand two years ago and leaves behind his wife and two daughters.
Syed Areeb Ahmed, a 27-year-old loved and respected in his community.
Syed Jahandad Ali, a 34-year-old working at an IT company.
Talha Rashid, a 21-year-old who had just gotten a new job and had plans to get married.
Tariq Omar, a 24-year-old part-time football coach.
Zakaria Bhuiya, a 33-year-old who took the day off to celebrate his 33rd birthday at the mosque.
Zeeshan Raza, a 38-year-old mechanical engineer.
Muhammad Haziq bin Mohd Tarmizi, a 17-year-old high school student.
Mohamad Moosi Mohamed Hosen, a 54-year-old man who was the last identified in the attacks.
I ask you all to remember their legacies. Remember their names. Remember the impact that they had on their community.
Laila Ahmed is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year majoring in information technology and informatics and English. Her column, “The Unapologetic Writer,” runs on alternate Thursdays.
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