They were us, the shooter is not.
Yesterday 49 people were killed and 48 more injured as they prayed in their mosque in Christchurch New Zealand. The white supremacist terrorist who committed this despicable attack wrote a 74-page manifesto in which he praised right-wingers President Donald Trump and Candace Owens among many more. The stochastic terrorism on show throughout the world from the media and politicians will only ever result in these tragedies.
As some of you know I attended a Turning Point UK event this week and I had planned on discussing their stance on free speech later on in the series but in light of this attack I think its important to discuss now. The white supremacist directly referred to Donald Trump calling him ‘a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose’ and Candace Owens who was according to him the biggest influences in his journey to commit these acts. In the quest for free speech we have forgotten that damaged people listen and take seriously threats of being ‘invaded’ by Muslims and sharia law.
This language creates violence; you do not have to tell someone to attack someone directly it is enough to just slowly drip the fear into them until they respond with violence. This fear featured in the terrorist’s manifesto hours after the attack Donald Trump tweeted about being invaded by immigrants it should not be difficult to recognise where these thoughts come from. This is also something Owens speaks about often when she discusses falling birth rates in whites and the ‘threat’ of becoming a minority in ‘our’ countries. The staggering fact that 1 out of every 500 Muslims in New Zealand were killed or injured in this attack which should put into the reality of these ridiculous racist fears.
One of the most ridiculous things Owens said on Tuesday was that the right do not protest we know this is not true we saw them marching in Charlottesville chanting Nazi rhetoric last year and we have seen them kill many Muslims, Jews, and other minorities as a protest against what these people refer to as white genocide. This attack does not happen in a vacuum last year every single person killed by domestic terrorism in America were killed by right-wing extremists. The media are reluctant to link these acts of terror with rhetoric from politicians like President Donald Trump who calls for a Muslim travel ban, or Boris Johnson calling women in Burqas letterboxes, or the insistence of both the US and UK governments that it is not austerity but immigrants who have caused a decline in peoples wellbeing. This has contributed to people failing to link the attacks and failing to condemn them a report released yesterday found that white Britons are more likely to sympathise with terrorists than British Muslims which flies in the face of the racist presumptions of the press.
The same media outlets that mourn these deaths have been implanting islamophobia into our society for decades its not subtle and we must stop pretending it does not happen right in front of our eyes.
The thinly veiled dog whistles and non-direct and direct incitement of violence can no longer be tolerated when you demonise and dehumanise a group of people with defamatory statements you cannot be shocked when they are killed in the place of worship that symbolises everything you demonise. Referring to human beings escaping war-torn countries as swarms or invasions is despicable it is not good enough to have compassion when it is the popular thing to do. The media must strive to report the news accurately without defamatory language. Free speech is not an excuse to say whatever you want as with everything we do in life we must consider the consequences of our actions when you dehumanise the Muslim population the consequence is murder. If your right to free speech is more important than someone’s right to live I think your priorities are warped.
Tonight people all over the world have taken part in vigils for those killed and tomorrow is the UN anti-racism day where many events were already scheduled to demonstrate against these views. Let’s show them that love trumps hate.