Christchurch Mosque, March 15, 2019:
The 'shooter's' incoherent manifesto
In the wake of the March 15 attacks, the New Zealand Government moved quickly to ban the viewing, sharing, downloading and possession of both Tarrant's manifesto and his "live-stream" of the first attack. David Shanks, the country’s chief censor, has said the suspected shooter’s manifesto, The Great Replacement, “promotes murder and terrorism,” and that his office is treating it like terrorist material from ISIS.
NEW Zealand's banning of the Tarrant manifesto makes no sense in the absence of bans on its ideological antecedents — the manifestos of Theodore Kaczynski (the "Unabomber") and Anders Breivik, respectively. Both are better written and more compelling than Tarrant's incoherent ramble.
Indeed, the Unabomber's manifesto makes such "good reading" — in the words of Anders Hove, of The Tech — it was published in the Washington Post and the New York Times. It has since inspired generations of eco-terrorists. Yet as far as I know, it has never been banned.
Much the same can be said of Breivik's tour de force, entitled A European Declaration of Independence, which displays considerable historical and philosophical knowledge, before trenchantly commenting, "You cannot reason with Islam. Islam consumes everything eventually unless it is stopped in a decisive manner."
Both the above works — which have been cited as significant influences on Tarrant's thinking — are readily available to the public, as are thousands of cruder inflammatory publications. So the attempt to suppress Tarrant's manifesto, and only his manifesto, makes New Zealand look silly. It also criminalizes any unapproved researcher who has the temerity to obtain a copy of the manifesto for analysis.
Another influence on Tarrant must have been the many articles and/or videos, like the one below, that specifically address the issue of the "replacement" of "white" populations by Muslim immigrants. Throughout the mid-2010s, this article by Cameron Slater was on Page 1 of Google's results for the search term "Islam in New Zealand".
Tarrant's diatribe is neither unique, nor uniquely dangerous. Much of what he says about the alleged dangers of Muslim immigration has been said before, albeit in more palatable terms, by prominent New Zealand publications since the mid-1980s.
Take, for example, the New Zealand Listener's article of 1987. This was entitled "Sword of Islam", and was prefaced by the blurb, "New Zealand's ignorance of Islam makes us a target of Muslim attentions". After introductory paragraphs, the article begins — in the words of visiting British Islamophobe John Laffin — by warning darkly of terrorist "sleepers" in the Muslim community "who will be activated when the time is right".
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters was still singing from the same song sheet in 2005, when he said in a speech entitled “The End of Tolerance”:
"In New Zealand the Muslim community have been quick to show us their more moderate face, but as some media reports have shown, there is a militant underbelly here as well.
"These two groups, the moderate and militant, fit hand and glove everywhere they exist.
"Underneath it all the agenda is to promote fundamentalist Islam.
"Indeed, these groups are like the mythical Hydra - a serpent underbelly with multiple heads capable of striking at any time and in any direction."
Another article that was clearly designed to inculcate feelings of fear and loathing for Islam and Muslims was North & South's diatribe of April, 2013. This is headlined "Tolerating Intolerance", and is prefaced by the words, "Mark Scott asks if Parliament is justified in demanding our respect for a brand of Islam expanding in New Zealand that approves wife-beating, female genital mutilation and the death penalty for homosexuals". The article also compares Islam with the Scientology cult of L. Ron Hubbard. My reply to North & South is here.
I don't recall any expressions of concern about the tenor of such articles, or about their balance, or about the effects they might have on readers, from any member of the New Zealand Government.
After the above two articles appeared, I wrote to the respective editors with appeals for moderation of the provocative rhetoric. In the first instance, the editor condescendingly published an abridged version of my letter; in the second, the editor refused to print any of my points. There was no reflection by either editor on their publications' portrayal of Muslims as inscrutable, menacing people who were alien to New Zealand and undesirable as citizens.
This deep-seated antipathy was underlined by David Garrett in the August-September, 2014, issue of Investigate Magazine. Part 1 of his article, entitled "Muslim immigration: the political dilemma", is here. Part 2, complete with a gratuitous picture of a group of shrouded Muslim women, is here.
Now the shoe is on the other foot, so to speak. Suddenly, being Muslim is "in". The villain — apart from Tarrant himself, of course — is the generic far-right white racist, who rages against his phantom "dhimmitude". In the emotional aftermath of the Christchurch shootings, politicians, reporters, ordinary people, and even police officers have been wearing hijab and sprinkling their conversations with Islamic words and phrases.
Oddest of all, perhaps, has been the "rehabilitation" of Al Noor Mosque, which was formerly associated — if only in the media — with the radicalization of two young Muslims who were later killed by an American drone in Yemen. How many people, apart from the Clover Chronicle, remember the Press article, headlined "Drone victims 'radicalized' at mosque", published on June 5, 2014? And who remembers that the Linwood Islamic Centre was set up as a refuge for those Muslims who were deeply unhappy about the state of affairs at Al Noor? See here.
It's a topsy-turvy world — and one in which the suppression of vital information is already leading to the mythologization of the events of March 15 in Christchurch. As I have said above, I doubt the veracity of some of the fanciful statements being made by some of the protagonists. And I doubt a true history will ever emerge from this wreckage of rationality.
In defence of his decision to ban the manifesto, the Chief Censor — a grandiose title that sounds disturbingly like Grand Inquisitor — said it crosses a red line by "spread[ing] direct hateful messages that are exhorting people to kill and commit terrorism". In that respect, it is worse than Hitler's Mein Kampf, in the censor's opinion. But guess what? You will be allowed to read the manifesto if you are a member of the academic elite. Yes, you "will be granted access to the document without penalty" (1News).
In other words, the law is to be applied selectively — a fact that proves the "serious crime" of possessing the manifesto is not a crime at all. If it were a real crime, like theft, assault, or murder, the law against it would apply to everyone in all circumstances. Thus, the law is just a device to coerce the population. And that means it is not the law of a democracy, but of a dictatorship. (1)
In view of the reasons given for banning the manifesto, one marvels at the irony of singer Cat Stevens' appearance at the national remembrance service for the "victims" of the mosque shootings, held in Hagley Park, Christchurch, on March 29, 2019. The Minister of Immigration has evidently forgotten that, in 1989, Stevens called for the death of writer Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses, saying that, rather than go to a demonstration to burn an effigy of the author, ''I would have hoped that it'd be the real thing''. In my book, that sounds remarkably like "exhorting people to kill".
Stevens, aka Yusuf Islam, made the statement in the context of a television debate. A police officer was present, but took no action — despite an appeal from Fay Weldon, who was also on the panel. The exchange was as follows:
Geoffrey Robertson, QC: You don’t think that this man deserves to die?
Y. Islam: Who, Salman Rushdie?
Y. Islam: Yes, yes.
Robertson: And do you have a duty to be his executioner?
Y. Islam: Uh, no, not necessarily, unless we were in an Islamic state and I was ordered by a judge or by the authority to carry out such an act – perhaps, yes.
[Later, Robertson discusses a protest where an effigy of Rushdie is to be burned.]
Robertson: Would you be part of that protest, Yusuf Islam, would you go to a demonstration where you knew that an effigy was going to be burned?
Y. Islam: I would have hoped that it’d be the real thing.
Epilogue: The betrayal of Islam
As we have seen, there is substantial evidence that members of the Muslim community of Christchurch participated as crisis actors in the mosque "shootings" of March 15, 2019. If they did, in fact, resort to some such subterfuge, their actions can only be described as a gross betrayal of the principles of Islam — even if, in the aftermath of the exercise, they found they had got more (or less) than they had originally bargained for. There can be no appeal to utilitarian philosophy. The end does not justify unscrupulous means, even if the "end" is ostensibly to the benefit of Islam in New Zealand. If the Muslims have, indeed, succumbed to the lure of criminal opportunism, no future success will eliminate the need to hide the dirty secret at its root.
MUSLIMS don't realize that they are being played — that Islam, particularly when it is weaponized as "Islamism", is a tool in the hands of the supranational elite, which is actively seeking global dominance. Al-Qaeda, for instance, is both ally and enemy, depending entirely on the theater of operations and the current exigencies. It has been fought in one region even as has been co-opted in another — in Syria, for example. The same has been true, to a lesser extent, of ISIS.
But Islam as a whole can be exploited, or harnessed to the task in hand, depending on the international situation. In the 1990s, during the destruction of Yugoslavia, it was politic to cast Muslims as victims. After 9/11, they were, of course, cast as perpetrators. Now, in Christchurch, we seem to have come full circle, with Muslims being cast as innocent victims again. And in the wake of the Christchurch "shootings", we are, once again, being exhorted to fight terrorism by those who know, only too well, that it is an integral and indispensable part of the "system", as (a) a driver of change, and (b) a facilitator of further manipulation and control.
On a personal level, I have to say that the Christchurch "shootings" have turned my life upside down. For a start, I simply do not understand how a Muslim can say "Alhamdulillah" with one breath, and tell a lie with the next. And yes, I have heard a Muslim do exactly that. Then I wonder, "Is it possible for me to continue to go to the mosque, when my assessment of the "shootings" is completely at odds with that of all the other 'brothers'." Specifically, is it possible for me to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with people I strongly suspect are liars and cheats?
Interestingly, there does not appear to have been any comment on events in Christchurch from the Shia community in New Zealand. From time to time, I have checked the website of the AhlulBayt Foundation in Auckland, but have found nothing. Perhaps they know something that we don't. Return.