By Jamie Merchant
Naeem Rashid, who was 50 at the time of the attack on Al-Noor Mosque, heroically tried to stop the shooter, attempting to wrestle a gun from him at the scene. He died fighting to save his life and those of his brothers and sisters, including his own son, Talha, who also lost his life.
His family saw him as smart and kind and looked up to him as the loving father of three children.
Mr. Rashid’s brothers, who were interviewed in Pakistan according to the New York Times, said he had left a high-level position at Citibank in the city of Lahore in 2010 to pursue a doctorate in Christchurch and raise his children in a calm and beautiful country. There he planned to start a new life with his family.
His brothers reported that he had moved to New Zealand in search of new opportunities. He probably believed such opportunities awaited him in a new land, judging from his Facebook posts, which feature mostly positive, upbeat images enjoining one to see the good in life, rather than fixating too much on the bad.
According to his brothers, he grew more devout during his time in New Zealand. According to the New York Times, they said he mentioned wanting to die a martyr, which he felt was the most honorable way for a Muslim to die.
His friends and colleagues left a heartfelt tribute on Rashid’s Facebook page in the wake of the tragedy. “He is a true hero…a good friend and colleague of mine. May Allah bless his soul,” said one. Another said, “Rest in peace, sir. I wish I could have met you in your life,” said another person, apparently inspired by Rashid’s selfless decision to rush the heavily-armed attacker.
He was given a civil award by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in honor of his bravery.
One of Rashid’s posts dated March 13th, just two days before the attack, cites the Quran: “Be good to orphans and the needy.