(English) FIR is shocked about racist violence in New Zealand – anti-racist movement is necessary!

16. März 2019

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A fascist terrorist has caused a bloodbath in two New Zealand mosques in Christchurch on Friday. The perpetrator, an Australian named Brenton Tarrant, staged the murders as a « liberation struggle ». He shot himself indiscriminately with a rapid-fire rifle in the mosque, murdered at least 49 people and injured nearly 50 people attending church services while holding their Friday prayers. Among the 49 deaths are children. The 28-year-old staged his crime by live video on the Internet, recorded with a helmet camera, added music of a march. Previously, he had spread a 74-page terror manifesto via social media. He propagated the preservation of the « white race » in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. His opponents are especially Muslims and all those who allow migration to these territories. These are « blood traitors ». Anders Breivik, who shot 77 young people in a holiday camp in Norway eight years ago, had spread similar theses. Breivik also wanted to defend Norway against Islam and multiculturalism.

We recall the anti-Semitic violence in the Tree-of-Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in October 2018, in which nearly a dozen people were murdered – also in a fascist terrorist attack. The assailant, the 46-year-old American Robert Bowers, entered the Tree of Life Synagogue armed. During a naming ceremony for a baby on the Sabbath, he opened fire and killed eleven people. He is said to have shouted, « All Jews must die!” Six other people were injured, including four police officers. The victims were between 54 and 97 years old. In later statements, the neo-Nazi confirmed that his plan was to « kill Jews ». He had also published a series of anti-Semitic messages on the online network Gab.com, popular with white nationalists and members of the racist Alt-Right movement.

Responsibility for such murders lies first of all with the perpetrators themselves. However, we must not overlook the fact that the political responsibility for the increase in racist attacks also lies with those politicians and media who propagate exclusion and racism against migrants and refugees in the public debate and in their practical policies.

Fortunately, broad democratic resistance is developing. The manifold actions in several European states this weekend on the « Day against Racism » of the United Nations are an important social signal against racism. The FIR and its member organizations support such clear humanistic messages. In these activities, we see a trend-setting answer to racist acts of violence in Christchurch and elsewhere.