Youngest Victim of Christchurch Mosque Attacks — a 3-Year-Old Boy — Ran Toward the Gunman, Thinking he Was in a Video Game

Three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim was the youngest victim of the mass shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Abdi Ibrahim/AP)
Three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim was the youngest victim of the mass shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Abdi Ibrahim/AP)

Mucad Ibrahim was wearing little white socks, the type with grips on the bottom so that ­toddlers don’t slip, when he was carried out of the Al Noor mosque in this city

His shoes were still at the entrance, where he had left them when he arrived for Friday prayers with his father and older brother. His big brown eyes, usually alight with laughter, were closed as he was rushed to an ambulance.

That was the last time his family saw him.

They hope they will finally get to wash and wrap his tiny body and bury him Monday, much later than is traditional in Islam, which calls for bodies to be interred quickly, preferably within 24 hours.

Mucad, whose name is pronounced “Mou’ad” but who was more commonly called by the Arabic diminutive “Mou’adee,” was 3 years old. He was born in New Zealand to a Somali family who had fled fighting in their home country more than 20 years ago.

Mucad was “energetic, playful and liked to smile and laugh a lot,” his teenage brother Abdi wrote on Facebook. “Will miss you dearly brother.”

He was the youngest of the 50 victims killed in the attacks on two mosques that have shocked New Zealand and especially this city, which is no stranger to tragedy after a devastating earthquake in 2011 that killed 185 people.

But just as the Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut caused particular heartache because of the first-grade victims’ innocence, so too does Mucad’s death encapsulate the inexplicability of this man-made disaster.

“He could have grown up to be a brilliant doctor or the prime minister,” said Mohamud Hassan, a 21-year-old member of the Somali community here, which comprises about 60 families. He shook his head, an expression of the common refrain after all mass shootings: “Why?”

Mucad’s father, Adan Ibrahim, had collected him about noon to take him to Friday prayers at the mosque, as usual. After prayers, the young men often went to play soccer in Hagley Park across the road, and Mucad often went with Abdi.

But when the gunman stormed into the mosque about 10 minutes into the sermon and started spraying bullets indiscriminately around the men’s section, little Mucad appeared to think it was a scene from the kind of video game his older brothers liked to play. He ran toward the gunman, Hassan said. Amid the chaos, his father and brother ran in different directions.

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SOURCE: Anna Fifield
The Washington Post