Christchurch mosque attack sentencing: Victims return to court as emotion-charged hearing continues

Warning: This article contains details that may disturb some people.

Mosque attack victims will return to court on Tuesday morning for what has been an emotion-charged hearing for gunman Brenton Tarrant.

More than a third of the 66 victim impact statements have been read so far at the sentencing of the 29-year-old Australian.

Survivors and loved ones on Monday told of the pain, the heartbreak, and the struggle of everyday life - as well as how the hate-filled act has strengthened the community.

On Monday, Khaled Majed Abd'el Rauf Alnobani "thanked" Tarrant for making the community more united. 

He said he had been in the prayer room and saw people being shot. He tried to help people but had to run. 

"I felt very bad when I was outside and I heard the shooting still going on inside the mosque. I have felt very disappointed for not being able to help more people. 

"I still feel shocked."

Taj Mohammed Kamran, who had come to New Zealand from Afghanistan, said he had seen his best friend shot in the mosque. He was listening to prayers when the shooting started. 

"I hid outside. There was too much blood from my leg," he said. 

He had been shot three times in the leg, and shrapnel remained inside his body. There was no control for his continuing pain. 

Mohammad Atta Ahmad Alayan, who began with a reading from the Quran, said he had been shot twice and had no memory of how he got from the prayer room to where paramedics found him. He said he had held hands with another wounded worshipper because they could not move, as he lay worrying about his son, Ata Mohammad Ata Elayyan, 33, who he later found had been killed. 

He said no words could describe what his heart was feeling as his son was buried.

Maysoon Salama, the mother of Ata Mohammad Ata Elayyan, said, "My heart breaks millions of times", as she described the shooting as "the darkest moments in our lives as a Muslim community". The gunman had inflicted pain worldwide. She told him: "You have killed your own humanity".

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