Christchurch, New Zealand – The nationalities and backgrounds of the victims during the March 15 mass shooting at two New Zealand mosques are slowly emerging. One of them was the son of a Singaporean named Tariq Omar.
The 24-year-old football coach had gone to the Al Noor mosque earlier than his family on Friday. News publication Berita Mediacorp spoke to Tariq’s father who mentioned his son’s devotion to Islam. Being early for Friday prayers was common for Tariq.
Rashid Omar, Tariq’s father, recalled how his wife witnessed the tragedy last Friday.
Tariq was dropped off at the mosque by his mother and was pulling around back when she heard the first shot. “She thought it was some other kind of loud noise. But then she heard more shots, and saw people running out of the mosque,” said Rashid.
Rosemary, Rashid’s wife, drove to the front upon hearing the gunshots and saw a dead body lying in the middle of the road near the mosque as people were fleeing the area. She never saw her son come out.
Friends, colleagues, and family of Tariq are sharing their fondest memories of the football coach.
On March 18, Christchurch United FC shared on their Facebook page a tribute to Tariq.
The much-loved coach was called “a beautiful human being with a tremendous heart and love for coaching.”
A certain Cameron Richardson shared her fondest memories of her Geology classmate. She wrote: “I was devastated to learn that one of my Geology classmates, Tariq Omar, was among those who lost their lives in the Christchurch terror attack. I’ll always remember his warm smile, bonding over football, struggling together on field trips and his friendliness/humility he had at all times. This brings a whole new level of realism to such a horrible situation. Make sure you reach out in kindness and invite people to community every chance you get. You never know the last time you’ll talk to someone. Here’s us graduating in 2016.”
Tariq’s body is currently at the coroners and has not been returned to the grieving family.
Once done, burial customs will take place.
Rachael Rawnsley, a cousin of Tariq, has started a GoFundMe campaign for Tariq and his family.