Two Mosques were hit in a deadly terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday, March 15, leaving 50 people dead and more than 40 injured.
One gunman has been charged and is said to have acted alone in the massacre. However, one other suspect has been charged with inciting racial hatred and another faces firearms charges. The name of the shooter has been released but I have decided not to include it in the article because to me, it does not matter. Instead, I would like to use this piece to highlight the growing threat of white nationalists.
A day before the attack, the suspected shooter posted a manifesto on a forum site and a link to his Facebook page where he would live stream the attack; there are people out there in this world that saw the post and knew what was going to happen. The manifesto includes anti-immigration and Islamophobic writings. According to the manifesto, the shooter had been planning the attack for two years, this man had two years to contemplate his actions. Despite what some on the mental health defence may think, the attack was not something that happened in the “spur of the moment”.
Many Canadians are horrified over the New Zealand attack, as the shooter had fellow mass murderer Alexandre Bissonnette’s name scribbled on his weapon. Bissonnette had opened fire at a Mosque in Quebec in 2017 before the incident he was seen as nothing more than an online troll with right-wing views, who often stood up for Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
Bissonnette and the New Zealand shooter both used their presence online to express these right-wing ideologies, arguably, the New Zealand shooter glorified Bissonnette and was inspired by his actions.
Despite the gunman bearing white supremacist symbols and slogans on the firearms used to slaughter 50 people, American President Donald Trump has declared White Nationalists are not a growing threat to society. Donald Trump has refused time and time again to admit that the alt-right are dangerous individuals.
The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 11, 2018
This tweet was from August 2018 after Unite the Right 2 in Charlottesville. Donald Trump seems to have a knack for ignoring white supremacy, even when it’s in his own backyard.
According to other sources, white supremacist groups are on the rise and are being fed by their growing internet platforms in countries all around the world, including Canada. In the United States alone there are 1,000 active hate groups.
In the documentary, Alt Right: Age of Rage we are shown that neo-Nazi groups such as the American Renaissance have been around since the 1990s.
This particular group started out as a magazine publication that held conventions, now they have moved to the medium of the internet and YouTube. If we have known about the existents of these groups for so long and have now seen the terror they incite, then why aren’t the governments stepping in on their operations?
In short, no matter how hard our government officials close their eyes, White Nationalist groups will not just go away. They aren’t neutral parties. They use YouTube and online forums to advocate the inferiority of other races and when people associated with them carry out violent acts, the groups themselves face no repercussions. After 9/11, the American government incited the war on terror and tightened airline security to an extent no one had ever seen before, now my question is, why can’t domestic terrorism spark this kind of reaction?
The names and pictures of the victims of the New Zealand attacks have now been published on social media and a LaunchGood project has been opened to help the victims and their families.
Featured Image via BBC and Turn to Love anti-terrorism campaign