'Hate is there': Ontario woman mourns brother killed in N.Z. mosque attack
Ryan Flanagan, CTVNews.ca with a report from CTV Kitchener's Natalie van Rooy
Published Tuesday, March 19, 2019 11:26AM EDT
One of the 50 people killed in the New Zealand mosque attacks was Amjad Hamid, a well-respected cardiologist whose sister lives in Canada.
“There’s no other way to remember him, except who he was – a kind, gentle, amazing person,” Arwa Hamid told CTV Kitchener.
Hamid said she first learned of the attacks at two mosques in Christchurch last Friday, while browsing Facebook.
“I saw something on Facebook that day. I didn’t know if it [was] real or not, and then it was taken from Facebook,” she said.
Hamid’s thoughts immediately turned to her brother, who lives in the Christchurch area with their parents and who she had last talked to a few days earlier. She called her mother, who said Amjad had been at the mosque and was not answering his phone.
It wasn’t until Sunday morning, New Zealand time – about 48 hours after the attacks – when the family was told that Amjad Hamid had been identified as one of the victims.
The attacks prompted worldwide shock and outrage. Politicians in New Zealand have moved quickly to attempt to tighten the country’s gun laws.
For Hamid, though, the attacks were less startling.
“I’m not surprised … because hate is there,” she said.
“We cannot deny it. It’s there.”
Remembering a beloved doctor
Amjad Hamid had lived in New Zealand for decades, occasionally returning to Canada to visit relatives. He had two sons in their early 20s.
Arwa Hamid said her brother was someone who, no matter what he encountered, never seemed to show anger in any way beyond a raised eyebrow.
“I never heard him apologizing because I never heard, ever, that he hurt a human being,” she said.
“I dare any human being to come and say that Amjad said a bad word to him.”
Hamid, 59, alternated his work between a facility in Christchurch and one operated by the Taranaki District Health Board 750 kilometres north of Christchurch in Hawera, N.Z.
Health board chief executive Rosemary Clements said he was a rural hospital consultant who often delighted his coworkers in Hawera by returning from his travels around the country with a fresh batch of baklava from a certain bakery in Christchurch.
“Dr. Hamid’s presence will be dearly missed by his colleagues and those who knew him. He was well liked for his kindness, compassion and sense of humour,” Clements said in a statement.
Arwa Hamid said that, while she will miss her brother, his laugh and their conversations, her thoughts are also with the families of the 49 other people killed in the attacks.
“We’re crying for our lost,” she said.