New Zealand honors two Pakistani men in the Christchurch Mosque attack with the highest bravery award. The highest honors went to martyred Pakistani men, Naeem Rashid and Abdul Aziz, in an attempt to stop the attacker.
“The courage demonstrated by these New Zealanders was selfless and extraordinary. They have our deepest respect and gratitude for their actions on that day,” said the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern. “Each of them put their life on the line to save others. If not for their collective actions, the loss of life could have been even greater.”
The list includes New Zealand’s two highest awards-New Zealand Cross, an acknowledgment akin to the Victoria Cross, the UK’s most prestigious award for bravery.
Dr. Naeem Rashid was awarded posthumously the highest bravery award for risking his life to save other worshippers from the attacker in Al-Noor Mosque. He stayed back and helped others escape the main prayer room where the shooter indiscriminately opened fire on the people.
— Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri (@Zhchaudhri) December 16, 2021
“In so doing, he enabled others to escape and paid the ultimate price with the loss of his own life. I want to acknowledge Dr. Rashid’s wife and family particularly, who will know all too well that his acts that day were a reflection of who he was as a person,” Ardern said.
“Today we can’t see him, but he has spread his message of peace and love, all over the world,” said the wife of Naeem Rashid.
No one should ever have to get this award: Aziz
Abdul Aziz was also granted New Zealand Cross for his tremendous bravery. Aziz shouted provocations at the gunman to direct his attention towards him. His attempt failed the gunman to re-enter the mosque.
“To be honest with you, I couldn’t even have the time to think about anything, I just wanted to get that guy, that coward,” Aziz said in the latest statement.
Aziz says he hoped no one would ever have to get this award. “It means a lot to all our community and all the Muslims and for me too, because all those times we’ve been the target, and this shows that people are with us.
“It feels good like you’ve done something good in your life,” he said in his statement.