As the world reels from the horrific shooting of unarmed worshippers in a New Zealand mosque leaving at least 49 dead, one politician in Australia is drawing a furious backlash for his reaction to the massacre. According to The Independent, Senator Fraser Anning posted a comment that seemed to fix the blame for the slaughter of Muslims who were praying in a house of worship on lax immigration laws, not on the shooter and his apparent accomplices.
Anning, a right-wing politician known for his nationalist views claimed that while he is “utterly opposed to any form of violence,” the shooting is not actually primarily about the 49 human beings who were randomly slaughtered for no other reason than they happened to be in a mosque, but rather about “the growing fear within our community, both in Australia and New Zealand, of the increasing Muslim presence.”
Despite the fact that very early reports on the event revealed that the shooter had allegedly prepared a 74-page manifesto that denounced immigrants, Anning nonetheless said that left-wing politicians and members of the media who attempt to pin the blame for the shooting on lax gun laws or on “those who hold nationalist views…is all cliched nonsense.”
“The real cause of bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place.”
Anning went on to say that although Muslims may have been the victims of today’s mass shooting, which was the deadliest in that country’s history, “they are usually the perpetrators.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison quickly denounced Anning’s comments, calling his words “disgusting” and adding that they have “no place in parliament.”
Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern called the attacks “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.”
“It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack.”
Anning’s sentiments also raise the specter of what the ascendance of an internationalized white supremacist movement really might look like, considering that the shooter’s manifesto has already been revealed to contain effusive praise for U.S. President Donald Trump, calling him “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.”
Meanwhile, many are pointing to Trump’s use of seemingly inflammatory rhetoric that could be considered inciting of violence just hours before the shooting. In those comments published on Thursday, Trump appeared to warn opponents that he counts among his supporters police, military, and bikers, and that it would be “very bad” if anyone were to cross him. Also, Swedish terrorism experts noted that the New Zealand shooter’s manifesto looked like a shorter, “more sloppy” version of the 1,500-page manifesto written by a Norwegian right-wing extremist who killed 77 people in 2011.