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A Muslim worshipper, who was among the first people to be killed in New Zealand’s worst ever mass shooting, appeared to say “hello brother” to the attacker just moments before he was shot dead.

According to a live stream video of the attack, the man, who is yet to be identified, could be overheard saying “hello brother” as the gunman approached the entrance of the Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch.

At least 49 people, including children, were killed in Friday’s attacks targeting the Al Noor and Linwood mosques. According to Christchurch Hospital, at least 48 people were being treated for gunshot wounds, which ranged from severe to critical.

Video footage of the attack, which has been widely shared on social media, showed a gunman shooting indiscriminately at worshippers as they ran for safety or lay huddled on the floor.

View image on Twitter
“I don’t know if i’m going to be feeling safe walking by myself wearing my headscarf.” – Christchurch resident

Muslims in are in fear following deadly mass shootings that killed at least 49 people at two mosques. pic.twitter.com/MVDTbvQWpF

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Aziz Helou, a resident of Melbourne, Australia, wrote on Facebook that “amongst the chaos of today, the evil we both heard and saw”, that one incident stood out.

“The first Muslim man to die, his final words were ‘hello brother’. These words were uttered by a man who symbolised Islam. He had a rifle pointed at him by a man with clear intentions to kill and how did he respond? With anger? With aggression? No, with the most gentle and sincere greeting of ‘hello brother’.

“Perhaps this hero was trying to diffuse the situation? Maybe Allah used this man to show the world the kindness that is Islam. I don’t know but what I want, is to make certain, is that this detail isn’t lost amongst you. That this mans final act was an Islamic one, a sincere courageous and warm way to stop violence instead of fuelling it”.

Attack blamed on rising Islamophobia

In a social media video, a former New Zealand rugby star Sonny Bill Williams gave a tearful tribute to those killed.

Williams, a practising Muslim, struggled to hold back tears in the 64-second Twitter post, telling families of those killed that “you are all in Paradise”.

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