White Nationalism or Islamophobia; Whom to Blame For The New Zealand Attacks?

(Shahtaj Bakht Maira, Karachi)

On Friday 15 March 2019, two mosques in New Zealand were made victims of the ongoing anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamophobia. The mass shooting that left the world and especially the Muslim community in shock involved 49 deaths and several injuries.

The easy way, I believe, is calling the shooter, a madman. Because this will eventually shadow terms like Islamophobia and white nationalism. The comforting side of calling the "non-Muslim terrorist" as a madman has appealed to most of the world leaders.

However is this the way it will end up today as well?

Addressing the day as the “darkest days of New Zealand,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has called out the attack as a "terrorist attack". However, there are still a handful of world leaders that are either stammering to condemn the attack or are either sugar-coating their inner hatred towards Muslims in their statements that were supposed to condemn the terrorist attack on Muslims.

World leaders like, Trump, didn’t even bothered to use the word “Muslim” or “Islam” in his statements to show condolences towards the victim community. Well, to me, this didn’t come as a surprise. His actions as the ruling power of a super-power have always displayed the prejudice hatred for the Muslim community. Under the Trump regime, the US government has imposed a ban on immigration from several Muslim-majority countries, managed to cut the number of Muslim refugees admitted, and I can't even pen down the amount of time Trump himself used divisive language against followers of Islam.

However, Trump didn’t stop here. Or let's rephrase it, the right-wing nationalists didn't stop here.

Although, some of them might believe that Islamophobia has become a national threat but they are certainly agreeing on the point that white nationalism isn’t a global issue. In their defense, it’s not even existing. The actions that ‘some’ white people are taking have nothing to do with their extreme white nationalist behavior. Because again, it's pretty comforting to reject rather than admit the current fiasco. Because once you agree to the existence of a situation you might be charged responsible for encouraging it, in the first place.

White Nationalism; The Desire Leading To Deaths:

Like I said above, ignorance might be comforting for some but how can you stop the mouths from publicizing their views and reasons behind the massacre they caused?

A lone-wolf type of attacker, the 28-year-old Australian, claimed that his pre-planned attack on Friday was an act of revenge that he took for the terror attack in Europe. He further claimed that his aim is to “crush immigration.” Which is the current motto of white nationalist around the world.

Keeping the raising issue of white nationalism into consideration, many researchers have claimed that it has become an international threat. And is making its way towards progressive and peace-seeking countries like New Zealand and Australia. After rooting in the United States and adjoining.

Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino says that “white nationalism and far-right extremism is the most prominent extremist threat facing the United States today, and indeed it is a worldwide phenomenon.”

But believe me, white nationalism isn’t new to the world. Its building blocks were put by American neo-Nazis like Francis Parker Yockey who encouraged the idea of “white genocide". Moreover, the white genocide theory has given birth to different white nationalist that are either anti-Muslim or anti-Jewish but are now united against crushing immigration agenda.
How Long Will The Denial Last?

This isn’t the first time that white nationalism wasn’t brought under consideration by the world leaders. Because they believe the term Islamophobia is easier to chant. Similarly, this isn't also the first time that the mass shooting of Muslims happened in the result of white nationalism. But the question is that when are we going to publicly accept and address the issue?

Even the terrorist behind New Zealand massacre accepted his nationalist beliefs and motives. Still, leaders like Sen. Fraser Anning, the far-right Australian senator, claims that growing Muslims presence is the only threatening reason that resulted in such attacks.

Even Trump, who was stated as a “symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose" by the Christchurch suspect, believes that white nationalism isn’t a problem or a global threat.

This pretty much shows how not only the Muslim community but other immigrants and refugee residing in powerful countries are surrounded by nothing but fear.

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About the Author: Shahtaj Bakht Maira
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