Mosque attack survivor pledges help

8:25 am on 26 March 2019

A survivor of the attack at Al Noor Mosque says his aim now is to help as many people as possible.

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Sardar Faisal Abbas has found it impossible to return to Al Noor Mosque since the massacre. Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley

Sardar Faisal Abbas was attending Jumu'ah prayers at the Deans Ave mosque on 15 March. He hasn't been able to go back since the attacks.

He told RNZ he was in the bathroom when the shooting began. He was about to leave when the continuous shooting started.

He locked himself in the bathroom, and started reciting a prayer. "After that I was like 'what am I doing, no one will know what is going on inside until someone tells them'."

He then called the emergency services and remained on the phone as the shooting continued, he said.

"I was literally whispering... I had no idea how many people were outside, but the shots that were fired were different, so I thought maybe any time someone would come in and kill me."

Mr Abbas said he sent his wife a text message saying there was shooting at the mosque, but that he was talking to police.

"At that time I thought maybe he was searching the rooms, because the shots, they were not continuous any more, they were one bullet at a time every 10 seconds."

He then started helping the injured, including getting some to hospital.

"I couldn't help more. That was my guilt. And that's the reason why the next day I tried to help as many people as possible. And kind of, that's my aim now."

Through his work with the Pakistani Association of Canterbury, he is now committed to helping as many people in the community as possible, he said.

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