Mosque shooting survivor from SA gets surprise visit from New Zealand PM

2019-03-22 19:18
A thank you note written to the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (Supplied)

A thank you note written to the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (Supplied)

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Former Capetonian Ziyaad Shah was surprised by a visit from the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern on Friday as he was recovering from the bullet wounds he sustained during last week's horrific Christchurch mosque shootings which left 50 people dead. 

Lying down in his hospital bed, 47-year-old Shah, who was born in Grassy Park and grew up in Atlantis, was surrounded by his relieved wife Shamilah, and their three daughters Zakkiyyah, Salaamah and Aadilah as Ardern popped in to visit him.

Sayed Noor Mohamed told News24 that Shah, uncle of his wife Aqeeda Maneveld Mohamed, moved to New Zealand for a better life for his children.

The fitter has been living in New Zealand for 12 years, and is a citizen, coming out to South Africa every few years to visit his beloved family.

His last visit was marked with a group photo on a beach, with everybody smiling and happy.

"We were very worried when we woke up last week Friday," said Mohamed, recalling the mood as news of the mass shooting spread on global news networks.

"We saw a message from his wife and were shocked."

Trapped in mosque

He said that Shah's wife told the family that he had been shot at the Al Noor mosque and had been taken to hospital.

"We were really scared at the time because we never knew if he died or if he was still alive.

"He was lying there, right through the whole thing," said Mohamed.

They subsequently learned that not knowing whether he was going to live or die, his uncle lay quietly saying his prayers, with the shooter a few feet away from him.

He was shot in the buttocks and legs, and was one of the few survivors who were trapped in the mosque.

"It was very terrifying." 

Ziyaad Shah

Mohamed said his workplace, the Cape Town Islamic Educational Centre, was among those that sent condolences and well wishes to everybody affected by the shootings.

He said his uncle is a kind-hearted man who would never say anything bad about anybody.

"He's a man of peace and even prior to the attack he always loved every race and every religion. He always speaks good and thinks good about everyone."

The Shah family said that although the shooting shocked them, they had been surrounded by care and support in New Zealand from people from all walks of life.

His son-in-law, Mohsin, who was born in Kuwait, was also terrified by the attack.

"It was overwhelming to them to see so many New Zealanders, Muslim, non-Muslim, coming together to meet them."

Mohamed says Shah still believes New Zealand is safe.


Read more on:    jacinda ardern  |  new zealand

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