Father, son are first mosque dead to be buried

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CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) – The first two people to be buried after last week’s mosque attacks that killed 50 people are a father and his son.

Khalid Mustafa was 44 and Hamza Mustafa was 15.

The teen was a student at Cashmere High School and was compassionate and hard-working, according to the principal Mark Wilson.

Hamza was an excellent horse rider who aspired to be a veterinarian, Wilson says.

Hamza’s younger brother Zaed, 13, suffered gunshot wounds to the leg in the attack.

Ali Akil, a spokesman for Syrian Solidarity New Zealand, said Mr Mustafa’s wife and daughter, who were not at the mosque on Friday, were in “total shock, devastation and horror”.

He added: “They survived atrocities and arrived here in a safe haven only to be killed in the most atrocious way. They were just looking for a safe place. Unfortunately we can’t claim that New Zealand is a safe place any more.”

Mourners on Wednesday carried the bodies to a freshly dug gravesite, where hundreds gathered around to watch.

Some were invited to scoop handfuls of dirt on top of the bodies.

Authorities spent four days constructing a special grave at a city cemetery that is designated for Muslim burials.

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