A heroic grandfather became a hero as a hate-filled gunman attacked his New Zealand mosque Friday — when he threw himself in front of another worshiper to save the person’s life and was shot dead, according to reports.
Daoud Nabi’s family said the 71-year-old was a generous man who greeted refugees at the airport after emigrating to New Zealand from Afghanistan with his children in the 1980s, NBC News reported.
His son Omar Nabi, 43, who was also supposed to be at the Masjid Al Noor mosque on Friday morning but skipped prayer because of work, said he was told that his dad had tried to block another worshiper from the gunman’s bullets. He had no more details on the killing, however.
After hearing news of the shooting, Nabi rushed to the mosque and called his father’s phone, but he did not pick up.
“I’m a bit lost,” Nabi, a mechanic, told NBC News, after learning of his engineer father’s death. “He is a man of lots of knowledge, and I’ve been his student for a long time.”
“He’s helped everyone who’s a refugee,” he said, describing how his father went to the airport to greet refugees and help them start new lives.
“Whether you’re from Palestine, Iraq, Syria — he’s been the first person to hold his hand up,” Nabi said.
A picture of Daoud Nabi shows him beaming with pride next to his granddaughter at the mosque.
Trying to build a community in his new home country, Nabi founded a mosque and became president of a local Afghan association. He was the grandfather of nine children.
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