Australian senator Fraser Anning faces intense backlash after he suggested that the Christchurch mosque shooting, which left 49 people dead, should be blamed on the Muslim community, according to News.com.au.
On Friday, 26-year-old Brenton Tarrant allegedly opened fire at worshippers at the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, before reportedly heading out to another mosque — the Linwood Islamic Center — to kill more people. He live streamed the heinous actions on Facebook and made multiple references to his white supremacist heroes. A manifesto detailing his admiration for other white supremacists and mass shooting perpetrators was also recovered. The actions of Tarrant have been slammed universally, with many pointing toward the growing threat that white supremacism now poses to the world.
But Australian senator Fraser Anning, who is known for holding very strong anti-immigrant sentiments, does not see it that way. In a bizarre statement released after the shooting, Anning blamed the deaths of Muslims killed in the mosque shooting on the Islamic community.
“While this kind of violent vigilantism can never be justified, what it highlights is the growing fear within our community, both in Australia and New Zealand, of the increasing Muslim presence,” he said in the statement.
“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.”
He went on to say that although Muslims were the victims of this incident, they are the perpetrators of other incidents and must be blamed for the deaths of the people in Christchurch. He said that the entire religion of Islam is the violent ideology of a “sixth-century despot masquerading as a religious leader” and called the Islamic religion the “religious equivalent” of fascism.
He concluded his statement by quoting a passage from the Bible, arguing that a religion which encourages people to kill others cannot be surprised when others “respond in kind.”
Anning’s statement blaming Muslims for the mosque attack have been panned universally, although the senator’s spokesperson refused to be drawn into the debate and said that the Queensland lawmaker had not faced any backlash as a result of his views. But that is far from the case, as Anning’s statement was called “disgusting” by Australian PM Scott Morrison.
The remarks by Senator Fraser Anning blaming the murderous attacks by a violent, right-wing, extremist terrorist in New Zealand on immigration are disgusting. Those views have no place in Australia, let alone the Australian Parliament.— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) March 15, 2019
Labor Opposition Leader Bill Shorten also slammed Anning, saying the “obscure” senator was using the tragedy to make a bigoted point. Political journalist Kieran Gilbert claimed that statements such as the one made by Anning did not belong to the people of the country, let alone Australia’s Parliament. British journalist Piers Morgan echoed the view as well, saying Australians must feel “blind fury” at the hatred being displayed by a lawmaker.
I'm not going to repeat what Fraser Anning put out except to say that I cannot conceive how his puny, impoverished, bitter, nasty wormhead works.— Tory Shepherd (@ToryShepherd) March 15, 2019