Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Witness To Mosque Shooting Speaks


Fifty people were killed in Friday's attacks on two New Zealand mosques. The attacks appear to have been carried out by a white supremacist who streamed the carnage on Facebook.


MIKE BUSH: The first thing I want to say is that it is with sadness that I advise that the number of people who have died in this awful event has now risen to 50.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #1: The country remains on high alert this morning after the worst act of terrorism in its history.

PRIME MINISTER JACINDA ARDERN: Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand. They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #2: ...White nationalism as a rising threat around the world?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I don't, really. I think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yasir Amin had just parked his car near to the Al Noor Mosque to attend Friday prayers with his father when he realized something was wrong.

YASIR AMIN: When we stepped out of the car, I heard a gunshot. But I was - wasn't able to locate who's shooting. Suddenly, that the killer, the terrorist, just stopped the car right in front of us, and it was very shocking. And I just noticed his big gun. So I shouted at my father, Dad, you need to run away; there's a shooting. And after a few seconds, I would turn around to ask my father, Dad, you need to lay down on the ground.

So when I turned around and I saw my father, he was falling down. And the same time, the shooter, he just ran away. And I approached my dad. And then I suddenly saw blood around his body. Yeah, I started crying. And I just ran back to my car. I (unintelligible) my phone and straightaway called 111.

And, yeah, after 10 minutes ambulance arrived, and they drove us to the hospital. I heard what happened in the mosque when I was at East Hospital (ph) because there were lots of wounded people who were there as well.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: How's your father doing today?

AMIN: Yeah, he - he's still in ICU, and doctors told me yesterday - because the wounds are very serious - but he's stable. And the doctor mentioned he'll recover, but it might take some time.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I'm glad to hear that. Can you tell me, Yasir, about your mosque, the Al Noor Mosque? Do you know a lot of the members there? Have you heard about anyone else that was hurt?

AMIN: Yeah, there are a lot of people. But from the Pakistani community, I'm not sure if anyone else is wounded. But all I know, last night we have eight - eight or nine people who were murdered (ph). It was so horrific - horrific incidence, yeah.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yasir, can you tell me a little bit of your story, how you came to New Zealand?

AMIN: Yeah, I - I came here on a job visa because I'm an IT specialist. So I came here in 2014. Yeah, and so far it was - everything was going well, never had any issue before. I have family here, my wife, my four kids. Three of them are born here. They're quite happy here, except this incidence.

And my father, he's, like, a regular visitor. He came down this time for the third time. He - he was actually quite happy. And this time he mentioned to me he's going to stay here at least for a year. It's just very peaceful, very nice. Local people, they are very tender.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Is there a message or thoughts you want to share with the world?

AMIN: I just want to tell, like, we - as a Muslim, like, I never witnessed any gunshot like this in my whole life - I'm 35 years old - in Pakistan or anywhere. This was the first time. We are very peaceful. We don't believe in terrorists. Yeah, so be peaceful and respect the human kind because humanity, humanity is always first.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, we wish you and your father the best. Yasir Amin, who witnessed the attack in Christchurch. Thanks so much for joining us.

AMIN: Thank you very much, Lulu. Have a good day. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.