By: Jordan Waymire, Staff Writer
On March 15, 2019, there were two mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand during Friday Prayer. At 1:40 pm, a white supremacist attacked the worshippers in Al Noor Mosque. Fifteen minutes later, he continued his attack at the Linwood Islamic Centre.
The suspect, a 28 year-old named Brenton Harrison Tarrant, killed 50 people and injured 50 more. Forty-two people died in the Al Noor shooting, seven died in the Linwood shooting, and one person died in the hospital. Tarrant was charged with murder and two other men remain in custody as the authorities try to find their link to the attacks.
This was the first mass shooting in New Zealand since 1997 during the Raurimu massacre.
On October 27, 2018, a synagogue in Pittsburgh was attacked by a man shouting anti-Semitic slurs, armed with a AR-15-style assault rifle. In the attack, 11 people were killed. The man, Robert D. Bowers, was arrested and charged with 29 criminal counts, including “obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs—a hate crime—and using a firearm to commit murder.”
Earlier that year, on November 5, a gunman opened fire on a Sunday service in a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. The man was identified as Devin Patrick Kelley. Kelley killed 26 people and wounded 20 more.
In Charleston, South Carolina, June 17, 2015, nine people were killed in a historic black church by 21 year-old white supremacist, Dylann Roof. Roof was sentenced to death after being convicted of hate-crime and obstruction-of-religion charges.
In the last decade, there have been more than seventeen deadly terror attacks on places of worship. Each attack had its own motive, most of which were committed by white extremists. Tarrant’s motive was to reverse the replacement of white Europeans and squash Muslim immigration.
Before the mosque shooting, Tarrant posted a 74-page manifesto,”The Great Replacement,” online. In this manifesto, Tarrant claimed that Anders Behring Breivik was his one true inspiration. Breivik was a Norwegian right-wing terrorist who killed 77 people and injured 319 on July 22, 2011.
Tarrant, similar to Breivik, wanted to become famous from his attack. Breivik posted a 1,500-page manifesto before the 22 July attacks. Breivik wanted his manifesto to be read widely among right-wing extremists. The attack would be his “book launch” and the trial in Oslo would be his stage. And eight years later, his manifesto continues to be read by the audience he always desired.
The courts in Oslo diagnosed Breivik with a narcissistic personality disorder. Tarrant possesses many of the same traits as Breivik that make him a narcissist.
Both Tarrant and Breivik believe themselves to be victims of “‘invasion,’ ‘mass immigration’ and ‘white genocide.’”
Tarrant’s obsession, however, does not focus on his homeland. Instead, he sees the white people in Australia and New Zealand as Europeans. He wants to restore “traditional family values” among white Europeans.
As long as these manifestos continue to spread and extremists continue to meet on the internet, it can be expected that more attacks will come to religious people by white supremacists, especially Muslims.