Some Thoughts About the NZ Killings
As expected, there has been universal condemnation of the killing of 49 Muslims in two NZ mosques by an Australian using automatic weapons. That person is Breton Tarrant, who seems to have planned the killings carefully, including by spending three months in Christchurch and maintaining contacts with 3-4 colleagues. The incident has naturally raised questions about the implications for police/defence policies and whether existing policies are adequate.
Peter Jennings, Head of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (way back I was on ASPI’s Board), identifies some problems:
- Such an attack could just as easily have been made on Muslims in Australia (only 1.1% of New Zealand is populated by Muslims) and it could have been an even larger attack, as occurred at the Bataclan theatre in Paris in 2015 when 130 were killed, on that occasion by ISIL suiciders (see 2015 Paris Attacks Killed 130);
- Violence by “fascist white supremacists” has occurred before and is an ongoing matter of concern to police et al;
- There is concern that social media will publicise the activity by Tarrant, who live-streamed it himself and issued a 73 page manifesto. Such wide coverage will attract the attention of “every teen with a grudge … and every lunatic with a manifesto” and “looking to be the next Anders Breivik, the Norwegian ‘far-right’ terrorist who killed 77 people in a lone attack in 2011”;
- The NZ killing by an anti-Muslim will be used by Islamic groups “as a call to take the fight to ‘the far enemy’… of non-Muslim Westerners” (for further detail see NZ Killings of Muslims Have Possible Further Occurrences).
The excellent coverage of the NZ incident in The Australian includes references to why Tarrant decided to do the killings. The basic aim given in his 73-page manifesto is to stop the “mass immigration of “non-Europeans to “our lands”, and “WHITE GENOCIDE”. Revenge is his motive for the attack, the author claims”. The problem started with the Ottomans (see NZ Killer’s Manifesto Postulates Events “Reguiring” Revenge).
Also, Tarrant’s live stream is “set to a seemingly incongruous soundtrack, a jaunty European folk song. Beneath the melody, there is a sinister message. The song was written to celebrate Serbia’s war against Bosnia and the ethnic cleansing of Muslims from the Balkans”. And the music “shifts to the flute and snare of the British Grenadiers, the marching tune used by the British redcoats against America’s revolutionaries”… We hear the opening lyric of The Prodigy song, Hellfire: “I am the god of hellfire, and I bring you, fire.’’ (see NZ Killer Seeks Revenge For The Past).
My conclusion is that, regrettable as they are, incidents such as the NZ one do occur nowadays looking at it from the perspective of Western countries. Terrorists do come from both the “white male” side and the Muslim side and our policies need to be as tight as possible to limit the incidents from either side ( in NZ’s case it appears that checking of airline luggage was not being properly carried out, controls over the gun he used were lax, and over the considerable time that Tarrant made contacts with his colleagues, NZ security should have been able to detect what was going on). My guess is that more deficiencies will emerge as the killings are reviewed.
Such security arrangements also need to have regard to the growing resentment from “white males”, particularly in European countries, to the increasing number of Muslims in those countries who do not integrate with other sections of the population. There are almost certainly many “white males” who have similar views about Muslim immigrants to those of Tarrant, albeit not to effecting killings.
It is sometimes said that most Muslims want to live peacefully. But polls and experience suggest differently and research by Australian expert theologian Mark Durie indicates the religion stimulates jihadist activity and requires a much lower role for women. Durie’s latest book, The Qur’an and Its Biblical Connections, argues that, contrary to Muslim assertions, we don’t all believe in the same god and that the Koran actually contains revelations which threaten us today. As Durie puts it, “punishment of unbelievers was to be brought about in this life by the hands of believers. Slay them, says the Koran”.