Christchurch mosque attacks and white supremacy in west

Taj Hashmi | Published: 00:00, Mar 20,2019 | Updated: 22:26, Mar 19,2019


Mulim cleric Mufti Zeeyad Ravat leads a prayer near Masjid Al Noor in Christchurch on March 19. New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern vowed never to utter the name of the twin-mosque gunman as she opened a sombre session of parliament with an ‘as salaam alaikum’ message of peace to Muslims. — Agence France-Presse/William West

WITHIN hours of Australian white supremacist Brenton Tarrant’s shooting dead of 49 Muslims at two mosques at Christchurch during the juma prayer on March 15, tens of thousands of short and long postings on the event came out on social media. In the next 24 hours, hundreds of op-eds came out in newspapers in so many languages across the world. As usual, there is nothing so new or startling in the articles/op-eds that I have gone through so far, either information- or analyses-wise.
What we come across in media outlets, comments and expert opinion as to what happened on this fateful Friday at Christchurch is at best repetitious, at worst boring. Nevertheless, what newscasters, analysts and experts have been doing is important. On the one hand, Australian senator Fraser Anning’s comment made in writing in his official letterhead is nauseating because of its racist, and Islamophobic content, the positive humane response from western politicians, intellectuals, analysts and ordinary people, on the other had, is simply overwhelmingly civil and heartening. However, while Anning wrote: ‘The real cause of bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place’, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Arden condemned the attack with vehemence, and with no ambiguity, and called the Muslim victims as ‘us’. So, are we going through our ‘best of times or worst of times’, or are we on the threshold of the ‘spring of hope, and winter of despair’?
Although it is too early to assume that white supremacy, Christian, Muslim, and Hindu terrorists have had their heydays, there is apparently no reason to be over-alarmed by the sporadic, although not-so-infrequent, terror attacks across the world. However, as we have reasons to be complacent about the fast-approaching post-terrorist, and post-Islamist phase of history, we cannot be that optimistic about the disappearance, let alone demise, of white supremacist ideology in the west, with its visible presence in the Trump administration. As Trump himself is tainted for his tacit and not-so-tacit support for the KKK and white supremacist ideologies, so are some of his closest associates, including Stephen Miller. Interestingly, 34-year-old Miller, a senior adviser for policy to Trump and his speechwriter comes from a Jewish family who escaped from Belarus to the US in the early 20th century to escape anti-Jewish pogroms, is an ardent white supremacist. Last but not least, the Christchurch terrorist glorified Donald Trump as his role model.
White supremacy is older than the reconquest of Cordova by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain and Columbus’s ‘discovery of America’ in 1492. The pseudo-science of ‘scientific racism’ as developed in the 17th century shaped international relations and racial policy towards non-white people across the world, even during the so-called Age of Enlightenment until the abolition of apartheid in South Africa in 1991. White supremacy is out and out an economically-motivated political ideology legitimised by physical anthropology, history and pseudo-science in the west.
Interestingly, while Islam promotes monogenism ie all human beings have common ancestors, ‘scientific racism’ promotes polygenism, which is about promoting the theory that each race has a separate origin. It is noteworthy that ‘race’ and ‘species’ were interchangeable in the west, until the 18th century. As Hitler and millions of his adherents believed in polygenism, so do Trump and all white supremacists today. And we know Trump’s connection with former KKK leader David Duke. So much so that after the US midterm elections in 2018, white supremacists publicly said that they had been the winners (CNN November 13, 2018).
During the past 10 years, while white supremacists have been involved in 73 per cent of terror attacks in the west, Islamist terrorists have contributed to 27 per cent of them. In the backdrop of all these white supremacist terror attacks, including the latest one in New Zealand, we may safely assume that while Islamist terrorism is on the wane, white supremacy is emerging as one of the biggest threats to global peace. Of late, state machinery is promoting white/Christian, Zionist, Hindutva, and wahhabi extremist ideologies in various countries, from the US to Israel, and from India to Saudi Arabia. Even China is not lagging behind in this regard. Its racist and Islamophobic state-sponsored terror in Xinjiang against Uyghur Muslims is nothing but state-sponsored terror and intimidation of a minority community.
White supremacy has infected several European countries, including France and Italy. So much so that soon after the New Zealand terror attack, Italy’s minister of the interior Matteo Salvini emitted his prejudice against Islam by concluding: ‘The only extremism that deserves attention is the Islamic one’, reports CNN. In view of the fast-declining number of Islamist terror attacks across the globe, especially following the defeat of the ISIS (which was again a west- and Saudi-sponsored terror outfit) and the Trump administration’s desire to negotiate a peace deal with the Afghan Taliban, we may single out secular and state-sponsored terror as the biggest threat to human civilisation. Then again, the recent attacks on Indian troops in the Occupied Kashmir by some Kashmiri resistance group that killed 40 soldiers, which brought India and Pakistan to the brinkmanship, if not to another war, may be classified as attacks by active supporters of the long-sustaining insurgency in the occupied territory.
The white supremacists not only hate ‘coloured’ people and Muslims but are also hateful of Jews. And unfortunately, Jews who are victims of white supremacists are also together with the western traders of death and horror, terror and, of course, democracy against Muslims! The killing of Jews did not start with the ascendancy of Hitler; it is as old as Christianity. Crusaders killed tens of thousands of Jews in the Levant (Syria, Palestine and Jordan). Christians killed and expelled thousands of Jews from Cordova and Granada and elsewhere in Spain and Muslims in North Africa sheltered them in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Russians, Ukrainians, Poles and Hungarians among others killed millions of Jews. However, since the end of World War I, Zionists and West Europeans and Americans are together against Muslims and Africans, Asians and other coloured people, mainly out of imperialist reasons.
We know that all wars are trade wars. Racism and ultra-nationalist ideologies have just been excuses to plunder and occupy countries permanently or as long as it is possible to keep them under occupation. Now, in the postcolonial period, the occupation is neither physical nor political, but economic. The US Military-Industrial Complex, Israel lobby, and Zionism (which owns most wealth generated in the world) are now the biggest enemies of humanity and world peace.
By the way, 9/11 was just a noisy picnic, a pinprick in comparison with at least one thousand 9/11s that the US alone has staged so far in the Muslim world since the CIA-sponsored coup in Indonesia in October 1965. The US and its allies killed at least three million Muslims, directly or indirectly, in Indonesia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Algeria, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Egypt, and elsewhere since 1965. The US and its allies were also responsible for the unjust and unnecessary killing of several million Koreans, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, Latin Americans, and others since the 1950s. All US presidents since Truman — including Kennedy and Obama, possibly, excepting Carter and Clinton — had blood on their hands. Either they initiated the invasions of countries with this or that excuse, or they simply succumbed to the pressure of the overpowering Military-Industrial and Israel lobbies in the US.
To conclude, what happened at Christchurch mosques on Friday was nothing new, exceptional, or totally unexpected. What is heartening, however, is the way the world as a whole, especially the west, have responded to the attack. We know terrorist have never ever won anywhere to achieve their goals. Despite what we think Muslims should or should not do in response to the Christchurch attack, some retaliatory attacks somewhere in the world against white Christians or Jews are likely to happen. It might sound cynical, however, to be realist, we have already learnt to live side by side with terror. Terrorism has become integral to our lives. And we know that terrorists never win and terrorists do not represent any particular race or religion. In sum, state terrorism is much more dangerous and difficult to overpower than the small group or lone-wolf terrorism.

Dr Taj Hashmi is an adjunct professor of criminal justice at Austin Peay State University in the US. He is a historian, cultural anthropologist, security analyst, columnist, and author of several books on South Asia, Islam, Gender, and Global Jihad.

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