‘This is the darkest day in New Zealand history.’ That was the first reaction by its Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Alleged shooter Brenton Tarrant’s manifesto described the “invasion” of Muslim immigrants on European soil by birthrate and the spread of Islam.
The New Zealand government might have thought that these attacks would not happen in their country.
The Firearms Act doesn’t really prevent gun-related crimes, even though Ardern’s government tried to strengthen the law before, but it was vetoed by her cabinet.
The problem does not come from coloured immigrants but from their own community. The socio-political milieu of New Zealand has changed since this incident.
A day after the incident, Adern said the Firearms Act would be reviewed and a special police unit under the police department that looks into right-wing extremism will be established.
Anti-terrorism police now not only monitor mosques, but also synagogues and churches.
Statistics on attacks related to Islamophobia and extremism have risen since the attacks.
Tarrant’s manifesto on white supremacy has reached its targeted audience. Just a day after the attacks, two Muslims were stabbed to death in Durham and Chelsea, England.
Terrorism has no religion, race or boundary. It is an act of terror spread by terrorists who try to spread their agenda and get attention from people.
As Ardern said: “Terrorists have no place in this country.”
What it means is that terrorists have no place in this world.
Malaysia also has to be careful about the rise of extremism.
Issues on ultra-nationalism and social contracts may be manipulated by people to achieve their goals.
Ministers and leaders have to think twice before making statements that could lead to extremism.
Dr Mohd Mizan Aslam
Visiting professor, University of Hawaii