18 Mar 2019

Shooting victim’s twin: ‘We must bury my brother as soon as possible'

From Checkpoint, 5:27 pm on 18 March 2019

The twin brother of a man who was killed in the Christchurch mosque massacre says he wants him back and buried as soon as possible.

Watch the full Checkpoint interview with Zahid Ismail here:

Junaid Ismail was among those who lost their lives in the terror attacks at Christchurch mosques.

Junaid Ismail was killed in Friday's shootings. His twin brother Zahid Ismail survived the shooting.

Junaid Ismail was killed in Friday's shootings. His twin brother Zahid Ismail survived the shooting. Photo: RNZ /SUPPLIED

The father of three, and husband, is the twin brother of Zahid Ismail, who is asking for Junaid to be returned.

"I just want one to two things, one is I want him back with us and the other is I want him buried as soon as I can possibly bury him, for the religious belief and that's it," he told Checkpoint's Lisa Owen.

"I have already rung Jacinda Ardern's office and left a message to say can I speak to her directly because she is the highest rank of person that can authorise him to be released to our family and for us to go there and verify him as my brother."

He said the only people that can verify his brother's identity is himself, his mother, brother and sister.

"Consult me, I've got his passport, I've got his birth certificate, I've got his three children at his home right now, I've got his wife at home right now with us, I've got my brother - my older brother - my sister, my mother who's inside the shop, we're here, we just want Junaid back, that's all I'm asking, I don't want anything else.

"Please tell Jacinda Ardern, I would like to speak to her directly, and please make the decision that me, personally, can walk down to the hospital, see my brother and say yes, that is Junaid Ismail. If you need his passport, I can bring that with me and I can tell that directly to the coroner so then I can sign off all the paperwork so he can be released to me and we can start our religious processes."

This was very, very important, he said.

"The people that have passed away, from understanding personally, I might be wrong - if anybody religious that is high of rank don't listen to what I am saying and think that I am saying incorrectly - my personal belief is that we must bury my brother as soon as possible, I believe that this process has made that go longer than we could have and I just want him back and to make that as quick as possible."

Zahid said his brother would have been working at his family business if Friday's events had not taken place and he is there now trying to do the same and maintain this for his family.

"My brother is my twin brother, I want him back. I would rather that I went than him, I was there with my wife, I survived, that's all I can say, I'm the naughty twin, he's the better one and that's how it is. That's all I want to say about my brother."