Last week, the media was all about the New Zealand mosques massacre, as it related to gun control. President Trump’s protection of free speech rights on American college campuses? Not so much (here).
After the 50-casualty murder spree across two Islamic centers, the members of New Zealand’s government and media — including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern — made a remarkable and very Democrat-friendly and move: It embraced Islam in a show of support (here and here).
But the situation’s grown a bit dicey, as a well-known New Zealand Muslim leader — Chairman Ahmed Bhamji of the Mount Roskill Masjid E Umar mosque — has blamed the attack on Jews.
At a rally in Auckland’s Aotea Square Saturday, he had this to say:
“I really want to say one thing today. Do you think this guy was alone? … I want to ask you, where did he get the funding from? I will not mince words. I stand here and I say I have very, very strong suspicion that there is some group behind him and I am not afraid to say I feel that Mossad is behind this.”
That would be Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency.
Someone in the crowd shouted back:
“It’s the truth! Israel is behind this. That’s right!”
They may wanna look further into the situation; the arrested gunman is Australian Brenton Tarrant, who is white. Additionally, Austrian officials have searched the home of Martin Sellner, leader of the white nationalist group Identitarian Movement of Austria.
Nonetheless, as reported by Newshub, Ahmed Bhamji blamed “Zionist business.”
Unbelievable that a community leader unashamedly blamed Israel for the Christchurch terror attack in front of 1k people, a crowd member loudly agreed, and there was no challenge to the conspiracy theory.
— David Cumin (@KiwiDaveC) March 25, 2019
The Jewish community didn’t much appreciate the accusation. Juliet Moses — spokesperson for the New Zealand Jewish Council, slammed the allegations:
“These conspiracy theories are dangerous lies. They put the Jewish community at risk, at a time of heightened security concerns. Conspiracy theories — particularly the idea that Jews (whether through the Jewish state or otherwise) are a malevolent controlling force in the world — are at the very core of anti-Semitism.”
She also offered this:
Apparently it’s not obvious that you don’t counter racism, hatred and conspiracy theories by peddling more racism, hatred and conspiracy theories.
There are simply no excuses for this. https://t.co/tF97ic4PkG
— Juliet Moses (@JulietMosesNZ) March 24, 2019
That seems like a good, solid point.
Oddly, Saturday’s rally was put together by the organization Love Aotearoa Hate Racism (Aotearoa is another name for New Zealand).
Juliet lamented the event’s failure to publicly counter Ahmed’s charge:
“It is unfortunate that they did not appear to put its anti-racism message into practice, by challenging or condemning the racism in their midst. We must call out hateful dehumanizing language, whatever the source, target and circumstances, and even when it is not politically expedient to do so.”
The shooting is a horrific tragedy. I hope the world can respond with healing, not a further tearing of the fabric of society.
For at least one man in New Zealand, that isn’t in the master plan. But for at least 50 families, it needs to be.
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