By Stefica Nicol Bikes
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (Reuters) – A year after New Zealand’s deadliest mass shooting, a survivor who became a worldwide symbol of forgiveness says he still feels no anger about the attack, but misses his wife so much he forgets she is gone.
Farid Ahmed, whose wife Husna was one of 51 people killed by a gunman at the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, reached out within days of the attack to express his forgiveness to the family of the man charged with the murders. He has since been a public face of the survivors, and has met Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and U.S. President Donald Trump.
“I have taken the tragedy as an opportunity to spread the message of peace and love,” Ahmed told Reuters through tears in an interview ahead of the anniversary of the attack. “I never felt angry but I ask what was her crime? She didn’t hate anyone.”
Ahmed has written a book, Husna’s Story, about his wife, the massacre and what he describes as his “journey to forgiveness”. Proceeds are donated to an ambulance charity.
Husna was shot dead by the gunman while running from the building to look for Ahmed, who uses a wheelchair from an earlier accident. Sometimes he still imagines her sitting beside him in his car, he said.
“I’m driving (and) I look at my side and I feel she is there and suddenly not there,” he said.
(Reporting by Stefica Bikes; Writing by Byron Kaye; Editing by Peter Graff)