The mass murder and wounding of 97 Muslim worshipers in Christchurch, New Zealand (NZ) which took place on Friday, March 15, 2019, has profound political, ideological and psychological roots.
First and most important, Western countries led by the Anglo-American world has been at war killing and uprooting millions of Muslims with impunity over the past thirty years. Leading media pundits, political spokespeople and ideologues have identified Muslims as a global terror threat and the targets of a ‘war against terror’. On the very day of the NZ massacre, Israel launched large-scale air attacks on one hundred targets in Gaza. Israel has killed several hundred and wounded over twenty thousand unarmed Palestinians in less than two years. The Israeli massacres take place on Friday the Muslim Sabbath.
Islamophobia is a mass ongoing phenomenon which far exceeds other ‘hate crimes’ throughout the west and permeate Judeo-Christian cultural- political institutions. Western and Israeli political leaders have imposed extremely restrictive immigration policies – in some countries a complete ban on Muslim immigrants. Israeli goes a step further by uprooting and expelling long-standing Islamic residents. Clearly the NZ murderer followed the Western/Israeli practice.
Secondly, in recent years, violent fascist and white supremacy thugs have been tolerated by all the Western regimes and are free to propagate violent anti-Muslim words and deeds. Most of the anti-Muslim massacres were announced in advance on the so-called social media such as Twitter, which reaches millions of followers.
Thirdly, while the local and federal police collect ‘data’ and spy on Muslims and law-abiding citizens, they apparently fail to include self-identified murderous anti-Muslim advocates.
Such as the case in the recent New Zealand mass murderer, Brenton Tarrant.
The police and NZ Security Intelligence Services did not keep files and surveillance on Tarrant, despite his open embrace of violent white supremacy and leading supremacists including the Norwegian Anders Brevet murderer of over 70 children-campers.
Tarrant published a 74 page anti-Muslim manifesto easily available to anyone with a computer – even a dumb cop– let along the entire New Zealand security forces. Tarrant planned the attack months in advance, yet he was not on any ‘watch list’.
Tarrant had no trouble getting a gun license and buying a dozen high-powered weapons, including the material for improvised explosive devices (IED), which the police later discovered attached to a vehicle.
Why were the Police Late
The Al Noor Mosque which suffered the greatest number killed and wounded was in downtown Christchurch less than 5 minutes from the police headquarters – yet the police took over 36 minutes to respond. The white supremacist was allowed time to murder and maim; to leave the mosque and return to his car; reload and re-enter the mosque; empty his ammo on the Muslims worshipping—- using a civilian version of a M16; drive off to the Linwood Islamic Center and slaughter and maim several more Muslim worshipers, before the police finally appeared on the scene and apprehended him.
The mayor praised the police! One might suspect the authorities were in connivance!
What accounts for the total absence or failure of the political authorities and security forces: the lack of prior investigation; the delays at the time of the crimes; and the lack of any self-criticism?
The Rise of the Anti-Immigrant anti-Muslim Far Right
The Brenton Tarrants are proliferating around the world and not because they are mentally disturbed or self-induced psycho paths. They are less products of white supremacy ideology and more likely products of the Western and Israeli wars against Muslims – their leaders provide the rationale, their methods (weapons) and claims of immunity.
Western regimes keep files on environmentalist and anti-war protestors but not on anti-Muslim supremacists, openly preparing war against ‘invading’ Muslim immigrants – fleeing US and EU wars against the Middle East.
The police take a half-minute to respond to the shooting of a police officer. They do not allow police killers to shoot, re-arm, shoot and move on to another police target.
I do not believe the delays are local police negligence.
The massacre was a result of the fact that the victims were Muslims, in a mosque. The tears and wreaths, the prayers and flags after the fact do not and will not change the murder of Muslim people.
Educational campaigns to counter Islamophobia may help, if and only if effective state action is directed against the Western and Israeli wars against Islamic countries and people.
Only when Western elected officials end imposing special restrictions against so-called ‘invading’ Muslims, will ‘White supremacists’ and their ideological offspring cease recruiting followers among otherwise normal citizens.
Massacres at mosques and crimes against individual Muslims will cease to occur when imperialist states and their rulers stop invading, occupying and uprooting Islamic countries and people.
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Award winning author Prof. James Petras is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.