Forty-nine people in Christchurch, New Zealand are dead in the name of bigotry, ignorance, and white supremacy.
The man who committed this atrocity cited the president of the United States as a pillar of “white identity,” and praised the mass-murderer who shot and killed 77 people in Norway in 2011.
To add to the tragedy, these people were murdered in a place of worship on a holy day while engaged in the act of prayer.
This man acted out of hatred and as an agent of a virulent intellectual and ideological plague that is taking the world by storm.
And, sadly, he isn’t the only one.
Mosques have increasingly become targets for deranged neo-Nazi figures looking to solidify their racist reputations by killing innocent people.
In Quebec, a mosque was brutally attacked two years ago, while mosques in Minnesota, New York, Kansas, and Illinois have all been repeatedly targeted by white supremacists and far-right extremists.
And these killers are being goaded on by our own government and media, who accuse democratically elected people like Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who wears a hijab, of opposing the Constitution because of their religious clothing, and who ban residents of predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S.
“This became prominent when the president referred to Syrian refugees as serpents. When you hear prominent right-wing pundits refer to Iraqis as primitive, semiliterate monkeys; when you have ongoing demonization; when you try to assert that an entire religion hates us, or an entire people must be banned because of their faith, you will see attacks like this.”Qasim Rashid, Virginia state Senate candidate
To put the virulence of this intellectual plague into perspective, FBI documents show that the rise of white supremacy and far-right extremism online is growing even faster than the rhetoric of ISIS.
Individuals like Queensland Senator Fraser Anning arguably pose the greatest danger of all; bigotry and hate seem far less vicious coming from the mouth of a government official and are all the more insidious as a result.
“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 truth is that Islam is not like any other faith. It is the religious equivalent of fascism. And just because the followers of this savage belief were not the killers in this instance, does not make them blameless.”Anning
When this level of hate-filled rhetoric is implemented by government officials, especially elected officials, it should be recognized for the massive red flag that it is.
It is no longer enough to simply not engage in racist acts, we must be actively anti-racist if we are to curb this insidious disease of hatred that is consuming our world.
To support victims of the shooting and their families, please consider donating to the New Zealand Council of Victim Support Groups.