A senator from Queensland, Australia, has caused widespread outrage after releasing a statement on the New Zealand Mosque shooting that has widely been slammed as “disgusting”, “reprehensible”, and an attempt at “blaming the victims”.
Another Australian politician, Martin Pakula, slammed Fraser Anning as “human garbage” following the issuing of the statement.
The statement started with “strong condemnation” over the shootings and Anning saying he was “utterly opposed to any violence within our community” – referring to both Australia and New Zealand – but soon descended into an attack on Islam and the “immigration program” which has led to the presence of Muslims in the two countries.
The senator said the attack “highlights the growing fear in our community … of the increasing Muslim presence”.
“As always, left-wing politicians and the media will rush to claim that the cause of today’s shootings lie with gun laws or those who hold nationalist views but this is all cliched nonsense,” the statement continues.
“The real cause of the bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place.”
The statement goes on to say that while Muslims “may be the victims today”, they are usually “the perpetrators”, and “are killing people in the name of their faith on an industrial scale”.
Anning then turns his attention to the religion of Islam as a whole, calling it a “violent ideology”, “the religious equivalent of fascism”, and a “savage belief” system.
The controversial senator has caused outrage various times in the past. He has called farm murders in South Africa evidence of the start of a “white genocide” and called those responsible “subhuman”, attended fascist far-right rallies, and – borrowing a phrase made infamous by Adolf Hitler – called for a “final solution” to Australia’s immigration problem.
Forty people were killed and 20 more were seriously injured in armed assaults on two Christchurch mosques Friday, said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
“It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,” she said. “From what we know, it does appear to have been well-planned.”
“Two explosive devices attached to suspect vehicles have now been found and they have been disarmed,” she added.
An Australian extremist killed multiple Muslim worshippers during Friday prayers, authorities said, in an apparently live-streamed attack which forced the New Zealand city of Christchurch into lockdown.
“New Zealand was attacked because we represent diversity.”
The Christchurch attackers were not on any terror watchlists.
Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, confirmed that the gunman was a right-wing “terrorist” with Australian citizenship.
New Zealand police said they had detained four people in connection with the deadly shootings and had secured a number of improvised explosive devices.
Police also warned against sharing footage relating to a deadly shooting in Christchurch Friday, after a video online showed a gunman filming himself firing at worshippers inside a mosque.
(Additional reporting by AFP)