This morning, Friday the 15th March, we woke up to the horrendous news of the massacre of 49 people at two mosques in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. A further 20 people are seriously injured.
Just the name of the city – Christchurch – and the mention of two mosques being attacked with the innocent, Muslim worshippers being mowed down, tells its own story. It reflects on the simple, harmonious nature of New Zealand and the total acceptance of the diverse nationalities and religious practices of the citizens and residents of that country. The perpetrator of of this unfathomable massacre is an Australian white supremacist male, 28 year old Brenton Tarrant. There was no doubt this was a cold-blooded, premeditated crime. Tarrant live-streamed on social media his entry into one of the mosques as he opened fire. He and three of his accomplices have been apprehended but the country is still on high alert and a state of lockdown.
This kind of wanton crime that we have seen in many western communities against Muslims is as a result of callous hate remarks made by various politicians and pundits against Islam. Chief amongst them are the likes of Mrs. Pauline Hanson and other politicians like her here in Australia who whip up hatred and rejection of Muslim residents and immigrants in this country. The blood of the victims of this massacre had not even dried before an abhorrent Australian politician went on twitter to fan the flames of Islamophobia and racial hatred.
Senator Fraser Anning tweeted: “Does anyone still dispute the link between Muslim immigration and violence?”
The Queensland senator also wrote: “As always, left-wing politicians and the media will rush to claim that the causes of today’s shootings lie with gun laws or those who hold nationalist views but this is all cliched nonsense.
“The real cause of bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration programme which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place.”
Senator Anning, it is not the gun laws, nor the immigration that are the reasons for violence of this nature. It is people like you who open their mouths and spew the venom of their supremacist racism and their hate and rejection of the other.
It was good to see that both the current Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison and his predecessor condemned this bigotry in no uncertain terms.
“”The remarks by Senator Fraser Anning blaming the murderous attacks by a violent, right-wing, extremist terrorist in New Zealand on immigration are disgusting,” said Mr Morrison.
“Those views have no place in Australia, let alone the Australian Parliament.”
Former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull wrote: “Fraser Anning’s comments today are contemptible.
“He is a disgrace to the Senate and what is worse by spreading hatred and turning Australians against each other he is doing exactly what the terrorists want.”
Then there is the compassionate, articulate reaction from New Zealand’s young Prime Minister, Ms Jacinda Ardern. Speaking from the heart she said,
“This is one of New Zealand’s darkest days. What has happened in Christchurch is an extraordinary act of unprecedented violence. It has no place in New Zealand. Many of those affected will be members of our migrant communities, they could be refugees – New Zealand is their home – they are us. The people who perpetrated these acts of violence are not.”
Senator Anning, this is what a real politician and leader sounds like. Despite the tragedy this young women has shone a light on how politicians should behave. Dear lady, I salute you.
To all the families, their friends and neighbours who were affected by this cold-blooded murder I offer my deepest condolences. God bless you all.
Jafar M Ramini is a Palestinian writer and political analyst, based in London, presently in Perth, Western Australia. He was born in Jenin in 1943 and was five years old when he and his family had to flee the terror of the Urgun and Stern gangs. Justice for the people of Palestine is a life-long commitment.