The massacre of some 50 Muslims in two mosques at Christchurch in New Zealand on Friday shows terrorism has no region, race or religion.
The white supremacist was so blinded by hatred towards people who believed in Islamic ideals such as peace, love, brotherhood and tolerance that he killed them in cold blood when they were praying.
Brenton Tarrant, 28, from New South Wales in Australia, was a terrorist suffering from a phobia that led him to believe that his guns can annihilate a religion, a certain way of life followed over centuries by more than 1.8 billion people all over the world.
Tarrant’s so-called ‘manifesto’ exposes his extremely narrow view of humankind. While Australian police are yet to establish the gunman’s potential neo-Nazi links, his manifesto exposes his deep hatred for “invaders in European lands.”
This is a dangerous outlook which can lead to horrific consequences as conflicts in the Middle East have forced several thousands of refugees to flee to Europe. Tarrant’s despicable act can inspire other white extremists to stage similar attacks.
Tarrant’s neighbours in Dunedin say he travelled a lot. While travel was part of the young man’s education, it did not broaden his vision. His frequent visits to Turkey and other places in Europe, Asia and Africa should have taught him how different cultures coexist. Instead, they engendered in him a false sense of superiority as a white man.
The problem with Tarrant and other white supremacists is that they cannot differentiate between Islam and Islamists.
True, Islamist groups carry out terrorist attacks in public places killing innocent people across the world. But this is no justification for people like Tarrant to target ordinary Muslims.
The attacks on the two Christchurch mosques were the deadliest in New Zealand’s recent history. They were shameful acts and the whole world has condemned them.
Such terrible incidents can be prevented only if people realise that no race or religion is superior to another and humankind is just one family. This realisation should start from school by introducing lessons on cultures and religions in the curriculum.
Tarrant’s neighbours talked about his upper class English accent which means he might have studied in a good school in multicultural Australia. But his gun rampage at Christchurch proves he learnt little about cultures and religions at school.
Tarrant would not have acted this way had he known the greatness of Islam, its sense of brotherhood, sense of justice, and the democracy it preached and practised.
In his ‘manifesto’, Tarrant claims he was inspired by Norwegian right wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik who was responsible for bombings near government offices in Oslo that killed 77 people in 2011. He also claims he briefly contacted Breivik and received his blessing for his mission.
Like Tarrant, Breivik too had posted a manifesto calling on others to follow his example. The Tarrants and Breiviks oppose multiculturalism. They fear European civilisation is threatened by immigration and believe acts of violence can stop this.
The world needs multiculturalism. It needs consensus, not conflicts. It needs peace, love, brotherhood and justice. The Tarrants and Breiviks have no place in such a world.