Christchurch in New Zealand has just suffered one of the worst massacres in recent times. Two mosques were attacked apparently by one man with semi-automatic rifles. The latest reports are that 49 worshippers have been killed. 48 people have been treated for gunshot wounds and 20 are in a serious or critical condition in hospital. The perpetrator was apparently a white supremacist, who was an Australian citizen1.
Today on the ludicrously misnamed Sky News, David Speers and Peter Gleeson were talking about the Christchurch massacre and, believe it or not, Speers asked Gleeson: ‘Where does this anti-Muslim sentiment come from?’2. As it is a Murdoch media outlet, Sky News is not really familiar with reality and it not as concerned with facts as most other media outlets seem to be, but to actually ask such a ridiculous question seems to demonstrate how inept Speers is. Maybe I could assist him with a few suggestions.
This anti-Muslim sentiment could have come from people like Senator Pauline Hanson who believes we are “in danger of being swamped by Muslims”3 and has called for Muslim immigration to be banned4. Maybe it could be from someone like Senator Fraser Anning who, bizarrely, has obliquely blamed Muslims for the massacre, by tweeting “Does anyone still dispute the link between Muslim immigration and violence”5. Maybe it could be from Senator Cory Bernardi who sent around a graphic of the shahada (Islamic proclamation of faith) with a large cross through it6. Maybe it was from someone like former Prime Minister Tony Abbott who, in response to an Islamic extremist attack in London, stated that “We’ve got to avoid any spirit of surrender, any spirit of defeatism, and all too often in officialdom’s ranks there is this notion that Islamophobia is almost as big a problem as Islamic terrorism. Well, Islamophobia hasn’t killed anyone”7 (it has now, Tony). Maybe it could be from some person like then Opposition immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, who urged the shadow cabinet to capitalise on the electorate’s growing concerns about ‘Muslim immigration’, ‘Muslims in Australia’ and the ‘inability’ of Muslim to integrate8. I wonder, if David Speer could actually remember these, would he think it may be one of them that had engendered this anti-Muslim sentiment?