Families Of Christchurch Victims Prepare To Bury Loved Ones
Families will soon receive the bodies of relatives who were killed in the Christchurch terror attacks at two mosques.
Police commissioner Mike Bush told media that authorities are attempting to examine bodies "as quickly and as sensitively as possible" to allow for families to bury loved ones in accordance with Islamic funeral rites.
Tradition usually dictates that bodies should be washed, shrouded and buried within 24 hours -- but families of the victims of the mass shootings are understanding of the lengthy process involved with the criminal investigation currently underway.
Auckland man Javed Dadabhai travelled to Christchurch this week after his cousin was killed in the mosque attacks that left 50 dead.
"Those family members who require the grieving, their grieving process isn't beginning," he told AAP.
"But we need to give [authorities] all the time they need for investigations.... We wouldn't want to think that because of some pressure or haste from our community that we're going to put the police in a situation they'll regret later."
Deputy police commissioner Wally Haumaha said authorities have been engaged in "lengthy discussions" with Muslim community leaders about the difficulty of releasing bodies in this "unprecedented event" in New Zealand.
"... They are very supportive in terms of the length of time it takes to do this," Haumaha said of the investigation.
"This is a criminal investigation unlike anything that we've had before, and we don't want to compromise that investigation, so we are taking our time to ensure we get it right."
The stories of the 50 victims killed at the Al Noor and Deans Avenue mosques on Friday have begun to emerge in the days following the terror attack.
Three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim is believed to be the youngest victim. The toddler was with his father and brother as they worshipped at the Al Noor mosque in the centre of Christchurch when the alleged gunman opened fire.
The family of the three-year-old searched for Mucad at Christchurch Hospital following the shooting but was unable to locate him.
"Verily, we belong to God and to Him we shall return. Will miss you dearly brother," the family posted about Ibrahim, the NZ Herald reported.
Haji Daoud -- aged 71 -- is thought to be one of the oldest victims of the shooting. Daoud found his home in New Zealand after leaving Afghanistan as a refugee.
His son, Yama Nabi, arrived late for Friday morning prayers at the Al Noor Mosque to find chaos unfolding around him in the aftermath of the shooting.
Nabi explained to media that was told by a family friend that "your father saved my life. Your father saved my life." Nabi was unable to locate his father until he watched the alleged killer's Facebook video and saw his father lying dead in the footage.
Police commissioner Bush said the heavy police presence -- including armed officers and helicopters -- will remain as the Christchurch community returns to school and work for the first time since the terror attack.
"The public wants to go back to school, work, their recreational activities," Police Commissioner Mike Bush said.
"It's the role of New Zealand police to enable people to do that."
Main Image: AAP