The fifty nine year old Palestinian Abdelfattah Qasem is originally from the west bank in occupied Palestine. Muslim Association of Canterbury’s former secretary, Abdelfattah was an intelligent, dedicated and principled man. His wife Siham mentioned how he had booked a flight to Melbourne so he can see his first grandchild just two days before the tragedy. She said: “He is very kind and he always smiles. Cheeky, and handsome. He is very polite.” His son-in-law Mohammad described him saying: “He is a massive man, a giant. He has a heart of gold. He was that fantastic person who just wanted everyone to be amazing.”
Qasem and his countrymen suffered great oppression at the hands of the Israeli armed forces and extremist Jewish nationalist militias. Many Palestinians have been forced to live away from their homeland, their properties and lands taken away and given to Jewish settlers after the second world war.
Escaping persecution, Abdelfattah was able to move to Kuwait where he specialized in IT and lived a stable life. Unfortunately, in the early nineties, the gulf war broke out and Kuwait was annexed by the dictator of Iraq. Again, Abdelfattah was forced to leave behind all that he struggled to build in Kuwait and move to New Zealand to start a new life for the sake of his children.
The hands of hatred and violence soon followed, Abdelfattah and four of his closest friends were all gunned-down at Masjid Al Noor of Deans ave in a far-right terrorist attack. Abdelfattah had passed away before being able to witness the birth of his first grandchild.
The stories of the 50 people killed are still emerging.
Mosque shooting victim was ‘a giant who wanted everyone to be amazing’