Norway mosque shooting: Two elderly honored for valour, heroism

Two elderly men who were hailed as heroes had been awarded the medal  for noble deeds at the one-year anniversary in a mosque shooting spree in Norway.

Muhammad Rafiq and Mohammad Iqbal hailed as a hero for tackling the Norwegian gunman who stormed the Al-Noor Islamic Centre in Baerum, west of the capital Oslo in August 2019 in Norway.

During a ceremony at the Bærum Town Hall on Monday afternoon, Iselin Nybø (V), the Minister of Trade and Industry, presented the medals to Rafiq and Iqbal.

Averted worst attack

“When it mattered most, they averted what could have been a much worse attack on the mosque and prevented the loss of life.”, said Nybø, reported Norway Today.

Rafiq has been awarded the Gold Medal of Honor and Iqbal is awarded the Medal for Noble Deed in Silver.

The medal for noble deeds is awarded as a “reward for exhibiting honorable conduct by saving a human life or other similar deeds which has endangered the life of the rescuer”.

Valour and heroism

65-year-old retired Pakistani air force officer, Rafiq was among three people at the mosque when the suspect Philip Manshaus, 22, appearing to harbour far-right, anti-immigrant views reached the mosque, where the people from the Muslim community were preparing to celebrate the festival of Eid al-Adha.

Despite being injured, Rafiq  pinned Manshaus down and apprehended him until police arrived at the mosque.

Efforts of Iqbal, a native of Khanewal in Pakistan were crucial in overpowering the perpetrator.

New Zealand connection

The Al-Noor Islamic centre in Norway shares its name with the worst affected mosque in the New Zealand attacks.

Norwegian media reported that the suspect was believed to have put up a post to an online forum hours before the attack where he seemingly praised the assailant in the attacks on two mosques in New Zealand when 51 people were killed.