A mother’s loss: ‘my heart breaks millions of times’

Maysoon Salama, supported by friends and family, addresses the court during the sentencing...
Maysoon Salama, supported by friends and family, addresses the court during the sentencing hearing for Christchurch mosque gunman Brenton Tarrant in the High Court at Christchurch yesterday. PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES/POOL
Brenton Tarrant
Brenton Tarrant
Mohammad Atta Ahmad Alayan gives a victim impact statement yesterday.
Mohammad Atta Ahmad Alayan gives a victim impact statement yesterday.
Taj Mohammad Kamran gives a victim impact statement.
Taj Mohammad Kamran gives a victim impact statement.

As Mohammad Alayan lay on the floor of the Al Noor Mosque bleeding profusely from two gunshot wounds, he prayed his son had been late to prayers.

Tragically, after being rushed to hospital, he discovered Ata Elayyan was among the 44 dead at the Christchurch mosque on March 15 last year.

Dr Alayan, the chairman of Dunedin’s An-Nur early childhood centre, gave a tearful victim impact statement in the High Court at Christchurch yesterday as he came face to face with his son’s killer.

He recalled calling wife Maysoon Salama - the manager of the centre - and telling her to lock it down in case the attack was part of a wider targeting of Muslim facilities.

The proud mother spoke yesterday of someone who was an "inspiration to so many people".

"A wonderful young man with a contagious smile. Most of all, a devoted son."

His name, Dr Salama said, meant "Gift from Allah".

"He was the best gift for 33 years, taken from us viciously and cruelly," she said.

"My heart breaks millions of times... like feeling the pain of labour again and again."

Similarly bereft was Mr Elayyan’s wife Farah Kamal, who moved to New Zealand in 2016 to be with him.

She could not believe she had found someone so perfect.

"A man that liked helping everyone, a good New Zealander, a man who was too good to be true."

Dr Salama said she could not forgive Tarrant.

"And I don’t think the world will forgive you for your horrible crime against humanity."

There were others yesterday who felt the same.

Janna Ezat, however, whose son Hussein Al-Umari was one of the 51 dead, took a different stance.

"I decided to forgive you, Mr Tarrant, because I don’t have hate, I don’t have revenge.

"The damage is done. Hussein will never be here. I have only one choice but to forgive you."

rob.kidd@odt.co.nz 

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