‘Lucky to have him’: Australia mourns refugee guard killed in Bondi attack

By Thomson Reuters Apr 26, 2024 | 3:51 AM

By Lewis Jackson

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese hailed as a hero Pakistani security guard Faraz Tahir, killed in Sydney while trying to stop a mass stabbing attack, in remarks delivered on Friday at a funeral attended by hundreds.

Tahir, who would have turned 31 on Wednesday, was on the first day of his job when he became one of six killed this month during the stabbing spree at a busy mall in beachside Bondi.

“Running toward danger, to protect people he had never even met, without doubt, he helped save lives that day,” Albanese said. “Without question, Faraz Tahir died a hero.”

The ceremony was held before a crowd gathered outside the city’s Baitul Huda mosque, under a banner that read “Love for all – hatred for none”.

Tahir arrived in Australia as a refugee from Pakistan, according to the Ahmadiyya Muslim community of Australia, to which he belonged.

Fellow security guard Muhammad Taha, injured while trying to stop the attacker, attended in a wheelchair after being released from hospital for the ceremony. He was the last to speak with Tahir as they ran towards the scene of the attack.

“We were trying to save people at that time and his last words were ‘Let’s find out what’s going on,’ so we rushed towards that area,” he said in comments reported by the Guardian newspaper.

Tahir’s brother, Mudasar Bashir, told reporters the two had spoken the evening before and promised to call the next day. They never spoke again.

“Even until now, we couldn’t believe that he’s no more,” he said at the funeral. “We are very proud of him because … Islam, our religion, says that if you save even one human, you save all of humanity.”

Joel Cauchi, a 40-year-old who suffered mental health issues, killed five women and Tahir in the mall on April 13 before being shot dead by police.

(Reporting by Lewis Jackson; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)