In 1996, Ahmed Abdel-Ghany and his wife Shadia, had left their well paid jobs in Egypt and immigrated to New Zealand in hopes of better schooling for their young son Omar. The couple worked hard at an Egyptian food stall in a local market in order to fulfil their dream.
Shadia described her husband as a “lovely man.” She said that “He was decent. Everything that you can think about a human being that is really good. And everyone in the community loved him. He was a gentleman. He never did any harm to anyone.”
Omar also described his father as a gentle and compassionate man saying that “The world has truly lost an angel on Earth.”
Support from the community had overwhelmed the family. Shadia said that the family has received “so many flowers, I could open a shop.” “The love we’ve been getting, the support, the food donations, we’ve been inundated. And from the bottom of my heart, we can’t say thank you enough,” she continued.
When Shadia was asked if she was angry the gunman, she responded, “…I am not. Because yes, he has taken a lot of lives, but these people are now martyrs who get a straight ticket to heaven.” Omar said that his father “…used to say, I either wish I died on the pilgrimage to Mecca, or at Friday prayers. He got what he wanted.”