Australian Senator Blames Muslim Immigrants for New Zealand Mosque Attack 

New Zealand is mourning the loss of more than 50 people following a terror attack against two mosques in the city of Christchurch on Friday. More than thirty others are seriously injured, according to local reports.

A man in his late 20s has been arrested in connection with the carnage. Local authorities found a 74-page manifesto indicating that he supported President Donald Trump “as a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.” The suspected shooter, however, does not regard the US president “as a policy maker and leader.”

The unnamed suspect allegedly said Dylan Roof, who killed nine people in a church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015, served as an inspiration for his hate-fueled attack.

While world leaders — including Trump — have offered their condolences, one Australian politician placed the blame for the attacks on Muslim immigrants.

“Does anyone still dispute the link between Muslim immigration and violence?” Senator Fraser Anning tweeted, adding that, “As always, leftwing 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.”

Anning continued, “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.”

The legislator’s comments sparked outrage across the world. UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid accused Anning of sowing discord. “At a time for grieving and reflection, this Australian senator @fraser_anning fans the flames of violence & extremism, he tweeted. “Australians will be utterly ashamed of this racist man. In no way does he represent our Australian friends.”

Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull joined the rebuke against Anning. “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,” he tweeted on Friday.

Following Anning’s controversial remarks, a Change.org petition was created to remove him from the Australian Parliament. “We call on the Australian government to expel this man who blames victims for their own violent deaths, and uses references to genocide to further his hateful agenda,” the petition read. It has collected more than 100,000 signatures and expects to reach a total of 150,000.

Anning has a history of anti-immigration rhetoric. In August 2018, the Parliamentarian from the conservative Katter’s Australian Party, urged an migration ban on Muslims, invoking a “final solution to the immigration problem.” Nazis used the term “final solution” to refer to its genocidal plans for Jewish populations during the Holocaust.

Though Anning denied that his speech was a reference to the Holocaust, his comments led lawmakers to pass motions censuring his “racist hate speech,” BBC reported. Turnbull said at the time that Anning made “a shocking insult to the memory” of those who perished during the Holocaust.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern offered a compassionate speech in the wake of the attacks. “For those of you who are watching at home tonight, and questioning how this could have happened here, we — New Zealand — we were not a target because we are a safe harbor for those who hate,” she said Friday. “We were not chosen for this act of violence because we condone racism, because we are an enclave for extremism. We were chosen for the very fact that we are none of these things. Because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion, a home for those who share our values, refuge for those who need it. And those values, I can assure you, will not, and cannot, be shaken by this attack.”

She continued, “We are a proud nation of more than 200 ethnicities, 160 languages. And amongst that diversity we share common values.”


About the Author

Robert Valencia is the breaking news editor for The North Star. His work as editor and reporter appeared on Newsweek, World Politics Review, Mic.com, Public Radio International and The Miami Herald, among other outlets. He’s a frequent commentator on foreign affairs and U.S. politics on Al Jazeera English, CNN en Español, Univision, Telemundo, Voice of America, C-SPAN, Sirius XM and other media outlets across Latin America and the Caribbean.