The families of two men who were at the Al Noor Mosque when Tarrant, 29, stormed the premises last year with assault rifles and gunned down those inside expressed anger and resolve against hate as they read statements to Tarrant in court.
“It took something away from me and has changed my life forever. You shattered my life with your actions of hate against all Muslim people,” Rashid bin Omar said Tuesday. “Your actions have failed to spread hatred or create division within society but have in fact actually brought our nation together and has bonded New Zealand people together.”
Rashid is from Singapore and resides in New Zealand. His 24-year-old son, Tariq Rashid Omar, was shot and killed at the mosque on March 15, 2019, the day Tarrant killed 51 and injured 40.
An aspiring football player and one of four siblings, Tariq was killed not long after his mother dropped him off at the place of worship.
“I will never be able to forgive you,” Rashid, his father, added. Tarrant was sentenced this morning in Christchurch to life without possibility of parole, the first of such punishment in the country.
Tarrant had pleaded guilty to 51 counts of murder and 40 counts of attempted murder, as well as engaging in a terrorist act. He also traveled that day to the Linwood Islamic Centre to kill more worshippers there. He was arrested shortly afterward.
Tarrant live-streamed the first attack after publishing a white supremacist manifesto; his weapons were covered in extremist slogans.
Hamimah Tuyan, a Singaporean whose husband Zekeriya Tuyan succumbed to his injuries 48 days after the attack, also spoke.
“You put bullets into my husband and he fought death, 48 days, 18 surgeries, until his last breath,” she told Tarrant in court yesterday. “His status then was uplifted to martyr from hero, and for me, from wife to the martyr’s widow.”
Hamimah said Sunday that she was still in the “process” of forgiving Tarrant but wanted to see justice served.
“[Forgiveness is] one of the three options that Islam has provided us and that is the option that is prescribed to us that it is the best for our healing,” Hamimah told the BBC. “To be honest, I am getting close to that but I also want people to understand that forgiving does not mean we forfeit the administration of justice. So I’m getting close, I’m not there yet.”
Hamimah has two sons with Zekariyah.