A loving and teasing brother to a doting sister; a son to an artist mother, Hussein was a 35 year old Iraqi man from Dubai who had been in New Zealand for 22 years. He died a hero taking bullets to protect others. His family was not surprised as he had always been the kind to shield others from danger. The night before the shooting, he teased his sister over dinner about her t-shirt that said: “See You Bye.” She thinks it might have been a premonition.
His mother is a famous calligrapher in Dubai working for Sheikh Zayed. His parents moved to Christchurch because they thought it was ‘the safest place in the world’. Hussein worked in the tourism industry and was in between jobs, leaving him time to attend Friday prayers. The minute he heard the shots he turned around to face the danger as heard by others. He died a martyr and a hero.
His cousin is quoted as saying, “The story of the Iraqi is that of pain and struggle. This is a family that persevered and withstood so much to restart their lives in New Zealand…Tragedy reached out to them there.”