15 Apr 2019

Wasseim Alsati: A father’s despair, love and hope

From Checkpoint, 5:09 pm on 15 April 2019

(Warning: Distressing content)

The father of a five-year-old girl who suffered brain damage after being shot at the Al Noor mosque believes his daughter would be dead if he had not lifted her up just as the gunman fired.

Speaking for the first time since the mosque massacre - a month ago today - Christchurch barber Wasseim Alsati said he would always take Alen for a fluffy and two marshmallows on Friday mornings, and then take her home before prayers - but that day they went to the mosque together. 

Mr Alsati was released from hospital two days ago but is living at Ronald McDonald house while Alen remains in Auckland's Starship Hospital.

In the interview he speaks of his experience during the attack, the bystanders who helped him and Alen, the nurse who helped him visit his daughter in the hospital and the desire to continue to live in Christchurch. 

"The amount of love and support ... from people that I never met in Auckland and Christchurch; and gifts. No, we are going back to Christchurch, we've got a home and we call it New Zealand." 

He wanted to also say a special thanks to Inspector Naila Hassan and the family who looked after his three other children while he was unconscious in hospital and his wife was at this daughter's bedside. 

He said he thought she was doing much better. 

"I've got hope. All New Zealand prayed for my daughter: Muslims, Christians, Buddhists. Everybody. 

"I do believe in God. I do believe in miracles. I do believe that she will get better."