A Wisconsin student helped over 100 students take shelter at her local mosque during a school stabbing and shooting last week. Seventeen-year-old Duaa Ahmad’s quick thinking allowed her to open doors at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s Oshkosh chapter mosque and usher inside students who were running in fear.
Security footage from the mosque shows the high school senior entering the door security code and then holding the mosque door open for dozens of students before going inside herself. “I just felt like I did what had to be done,” Ahmad told ABC News in a telephone interview.
The community mosque is located across the street from Oshkosh West High School, where police said a 16-year-old student stabbed an officer with an “edged weapon” before being shot by the officer on Tuesday, Dec. 3. According to Oshkosh Chief of Police Dean Smith, their injuries are not life-threatening.
Ahmad told CNN she was in her AP English literature class when the class heard a gunshot, which at the time she thought was just a door slamming shut. Her teacher then asked someone to call 911 and told students to run from campus, but without giving them a reason. “It could have been anything. That fact that we didn’t know caused even more anxiety.” That’s when another student suggested running to the mosque, Ahmad shared.
“A guy yelled, ‘go, go to the mosque’ and that’s where everybody seemed to be going anyway, so I just tried to lock as many people in as I could,” she said. “I’m lucky that I was in that place when that situation ensued, and I’m just grateful that I was able to enter the code and let as many people in.”
Ahmad’s father, Saad Ahmad, is the financial secretary at the mosque and works a few minutes down the road from the school. Ahmad called her father and he rushed over to help once he spoke with her. All mosque members have a code to enter the building, he told CNN. Not knowing what was happening at the time, Ahmad said he was worried about his daughter’s safety but proud of her actions.
“I’m really glad she opened the mosque right away and took the initiative,” he said, “I was quite proud of her that she was able to handle this situation at such a young age.”
Ahmad estimated that there were about 100 students sheltered inside the mosque. With her father, she made sure everyone was comfortable and felt safe until they could be reunited with their parents. While mosques across the country, including this one, have protocols for incidents of violence, this situation was unique, community members expressed. “When I look at the video now, I feel pride,” Saad Ahmad told ABC News. “Her composure is remarkable in that situation,” he added. “I don’t know how I would react in that situation.”
The shooting was the second to take place in a high school in Wisconsin within two days. Oshkosh West closed for a few days after the incident, and students resumed to their normal schedules Friday, according to the Oshkosh Area School District.