Ali Reaz, Collected from Facebook
How to describe the attacks on the mosques in Christchurch, NZ? It’s plain and simple – right-wing extremist terrorist attack. In the 73-page Manifesto the attacker Brenton Tarrant stated white supremacist viewpoints and named prominent Donald Trump supporter and right-wing American media personality Candace Owens as the person who most inspired him to commit acts of violence. He also praised Trump himself “as a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.” (But he disavows Trump as “a policy maker and leader.”) The shooter says in the manifesto that he intends to stand trial for his actions, which he intends to plead “not guilty” to. “The attack was a partisan action against a occupying force, and I am a lawful, uniformed combatant.” This is not the first time that someone who fervently supports Trump has committed such heinous crime. Cesar Sayoc, whose van was full of messages supporting Trump, attacked a Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and killed 11 people and injured 8 during Shabbat morning services on 27 October 2018. Another was Alexandre Bissonnette, who on the evening of January 29, 2017, attacked worshippers at the Islamic Cultural Center in Quebec City, Canada, killing six of them and wounding 19. Hate-filled divisive messages incite violence, inspires attacks. One cannot ignore the facts. This is another ideology-driven terrorist attack.
Our thoughts and prayers with the victims and their families.
Distinguished Professor, Politics and Government at Illinois State University