The real danger of the white supremacist fanatics to the Muslim community, stimulated by this exploitation of fear, has not yet been recognised by the authorities.
The New York Times reported that:
There were five white extremist attacks in Australia from 2011 through 2017, all of which were attacks on mosques and Islamic centers.
Experts say the same broad motives are at play whether the target is a mosque in Perth or an asylum seekers’ shelter in Dresden or a synagogue in Pittsburgh. Attackers who identify as white, Christian and culturally European see an attack on their privileged position in the West by immigrants, Muslims and other religious and racial minorities.
The greater problem remains structural, far bigger than the fate of any individual sleaze monger. Educating those susceptible to their messaging as to why these voices are so toxic will be a harder struggle, given the sheer scale Big Tech offers. It will not be easy to do so without meaningful action by the tech industry, which only now seems to be somewhat recognizing that they have become to America today what sidewalk display cases were to Nazi Germany. Whether the U.S. political system is up to the challenge is highly dubious, but I am heartened by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden’s immediate and tenacious workto stop the spread of the Christchurch shooter’s video and extract answers from Facebook.
I see no contradiction between justice being served against the worst progenitors of right-wing extremism and empathy being exercised for the souls of those seduced. If far-right extremism is but a symptom of a national sickness, then the source of those issues is still upstream from the dead end of such violent hatred. And that’s our responsibility to combat—wherever and whenever we encounter it.
The killings in Christchurch are part of an international pattern of attacks on Muslims, which seem to have increased over the past two years. In January 2017, a man entered a mosque in Quebec City and shot and killed six people. He was sentenced to at least 40 years in prison this year. The killer followed white supremacists, conspiracy theorists and right-wing commentators online, and he was fixated on Muslims and immigrants. He was a fan of President Donald Trump and his Muslim ban.
Since 2016, at least three U.S. mosques have been set afire, and at least three other Islamic institutions across the country have targeted for terrorist attacks.
After the Christchurch shooting by a racist gunman the president played down the threat of white nationalism but his record speaks louder than words
Leaked chat logs revealed active military servicemen with ties to the extremist group Identity Evropa.
The concept of “white supremacy” is having a moment right now, and understandably so. White resentment, entitlement and bigotry never went away, but it is closer to the political mainstream now than it has been for decades.
The rhetoric of the likes of Donald Trump, Viktor Orbán, Steve Bannon and other figures in the ascendant populist right might not openly embrace “white power”, but there is no doubt that open white racists have been emboldened by them. Trump may have not wanted Richard Spencer (who coined the term “alt right”) to gleefully exclaim: “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory” just after the 2016 US election, but he was not particularly bothered by it either.
Surveys of young Americans have shown that 40% identifying as gang members are white, but police tend to undercount them at 10% to 14% and overcount black and Hispanic members, says Babe Howell, a criminal law professor at City University of New York who focuses on crime and race.
“Police see groups of young white people as individuals, each responsible for his or her own conduct, and hold young people of color in street gangs criminally liable for the conduct of their peers,” she says.
Christian Picciolini, a 44-year-old, award-winning activist from Chicago who now works to deradicalise racist extremists, says members of his former neo-Nazi gang pursued careers with police departments, joined the military, or ran for political office.
“A lot of these old skinheads and [Ku Klux] Klansmen have gone into the mainstream,” Picciolini told Fairfax Media.